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Public Relations Tips to Stop COVID-19 Cancellation Epidemic

Amid the disruption that COVID-19 is wreaking lies another epidemic – a slew of cancelled meetings and business initiatives. We’re already seeing the economic effects of the virus, and they have the potential to be massive. Scores of organizations of all sizes are suspending usual operations – and cancelling meetings — and sending employees to work from home. To maintain business continuity and ensure survivability, especially for B2B organizations, work cannot just come to a halt.

Now is the time to pivot or postpone, not cancel.

Granted, some meetings require face-to-face interaction or need to be at a particular location, but many can be moved into an online environment using one of a number of technologies designed to help employees collaborate and stay productive as they work remotely. These technologies also facilitate continued stakeholder engagement, giving companies a platform through which to share critical information to customers, the public, shareholders and employees alike.

As public relations professionals, we particularly feel the importance to keep communication clear and steady during times such as this. We encourage exploring and using any or all of the following to help your business stay viable during this unprecedented time of change:

Facebook Live – This is an excellent tool for reaching out to your customers and the general public in large numbers at once. Just this weekend we saw a musician hold a “concert” in place of cancelled tour dates, and a church hold an abbreviated service since the majority of its congregation is in a high-risk category. It’s fairly easy to do through your Facebook page. General instructions can be found here.

FaceTime – For iPhone users, FaceTime provides an easy video call perfect for quick meetings or huddles. Some clever retailers are also using it to create personalized in-store shopping experiences for customers. FaceTime will also support group calls of up to 32 participants; instructions can be found here.

Go To Meeting – This platform enables you to host meetings with a more traditional feel. You can broadcast from your desktop or mobile device, and its functionality includes screen- and desktop-sharing. The free version will allow you to most up to three participants, but subscribers can host up to 250 participants. Get all the details here.

Microsoft Teams – For businesses using Microsoft Office 365, Teams provides the means to chat, call or meet even while everyone is working from a different location. The chat function is especially helpful for teams to communicate quickly much as they would if there were in the same physical location. Further details are here.

Virtual Town Halls – For small- and large-scale public engagement, virtual town halls offer an effective way to engage stakeholders.  Candidates have been utilizing this technology for more than a decade, by telephone and online, and with or without video.  KGBTexas has partnered with The Contact Group, an industry leader, to bring this technology to our clients.  We recently worked with VIA Metropolitan Transit to host a tele-town hallthat had more than 1,200 participants.

Zoom – Often compared to Skype and Microsoft Teams, the free version of Zoom provides video and web conferencing for up to 100 participants, collaboration tools and unlimited 1-to-1 meetings. Plan features and pricing information can be found here.

Without a doubt, the minute-by-minute change swirling around us is disconcerting, but we can mitigate the fear – and economic fallout – by shifting our mindsets and our SOPs. For a while, “business as usual” will not be business as usual, but technology can stop the cancellation epidemic in its tracks and keep your business operating.

If you want help implementing this technology, developing internal or external messaging, or advice on where to go from here, please reach out. KGBTexas would be happy to help you.

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