How to Create a Robust Internal Communications Strategy During a Pandemic
By Dawn Kroeger, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK
With corporate communications, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; brands should focus on developing an overarching strategy with different messages for different target audiences.
If the last month has taught us anything, it’s that a brand’s ability to be nimble, proactive and think long-term is what makes it stand out from the pack. Communication with customers is of course a key component, but a strategic internal communication strategy is where all communications should start. It’s not about a one-size-fits-all strategy; every franchisee and market is different. Below are some tips on how to approach internal communications during this challenging time.
Engage in Frequent Email and Video Executive Communication
Because this is a very unsettling time, franchisees benefit from being able to watch the executive team share news, updates and best practices on video. They are able to see executives staying calm and working hard on their behalf, which builds trust and offers peace of mind for franchisees. Don’t wait to communicate until you have all the information. Especially during these weeks when the standards, regulations and processes for loan funding are changing daily, and sometimes hourly, if you wait to have the perfect information, it will surely be too late.
Tailor Messages to the Appropriate Audiences
In any franchise organization, communication needs to be different for customers, franchise owners and team members. We had to quickly find a way to communicate directly with our franchisees about how to navigate the various updates from the government, like small business loans, the CARES act, the emergency FMLA policy and more. Our intranet is open to everyone in the organization, so we quickly created a process of sending emails with executive video messages directly to our franchise owners walking them through the various changes.
It’s not about just sharing updates with your franchisees, though. We also recommend creating messaging for franchisees to share with their teams. With every day presenting new challenges, it’s important to arm your franchisees with support on how to speak with their customers in alignment with the corporate team’s messaging.
The home office team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK starts the day with one goal in mind: to do everything we can to protect our franchise owners and team members’ jobs. We are working through this pandemic and providing resources and support to our stakeholders, but we are also focused on how we can be prepared when we are on the other side of this. The way we serve our customers now sets us up for serving more customers in the future. We’re thinking in the moment, but we are equally focused on creating communicating our long-term business objectives to our system in real time.
Tap Into Your Franchise System
One of the primary benefits of being part of a franchise system is that franchise owners are able to share and utilize best practices from other owners. We started sharing stories and videos from our franchise owners about what they’ve implemented in their local territories from both the employee communication and budget management perspectives, and what they’ve learned from this process. In addition to the executive communications, it’s important for franchise owners to also learn from their peers.
Above all, it’s important to remember that no two franchises and no two issues are the same, especially in larger franchise systems. Don’t be afraid to seek feedback from your franchisees on your internal communication process and content. After all, your strategy is only as good as your franchisees feel it is. It’s more important now than ever before to be thoughtful about how you communicate with your system. By developing a multi-pronged, multi-channel internal communication strategy and working together as a corporate team to be nimble and flexible as new information arises, you will set your system up for success.
Dawn Kroeger is the Marketing and Communications Director at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. For more information on TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, click here.