Public relations agencies across the globe are ramping up as their clients’ businesses are re-opening, with many doubling down on marketing spends aimed at putting the pandemic in the rearview. While agencies – and their clients – are eager to move on, it’s important to step back and think about building something all businesses should strive for: resiliency.
There is no better time than the present to help our clients develop their resiliency playbook as an extension of strategic planning or crisis communications efforts.
Agencies can help their clients withstand the test of time by encouraging them to embrace these resiliency-building tips:
- Adopt an innovative and explorative culture: The status quo will no longer suffice in an environment where change is the new normal. Winning organizations will take risks, embrace diverse and alternative viewpoints, be willing to break from historical binds not in support of the end game and tolerate failures in the pursuit of wins.
- Keep your eyes wide peeled: Systems for ongoing monitoring of the world around you will be paramount. Tools should be in place for evaluating threats and opportunities and identifying those with the most compelling reasons for action. PR partners can easily serve this role.
- Be prepared to pivot and make things better: Monitoring of trends is only as valuable as an organization’s preparedness to effectively and quickly execute new strategies and tactics. For the most adept, planning cycles will no longer rigid, annual or at pre-determined intervals, but rather ongoing, systemic and built into teams across organizations all while being guided by an overarching strategic framework for the future. What’s more, small continual improvements go a long way toward organizational betterment, relevance and resiliency.
- Build empowered teams: Teams must be given the green light to use their skills, talents, gifts and passions to the best extent possible. Leaders must build learning cultures and ensure teams have the resources, skills, mentorship and support needed to feel empowered to take action, make decisions, think big and stretch the thinking of others.
- Re-think supply chains: For businesses with complex supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed fragility. With weaknesses exposed, the forging of new relationships and strengthening of existing ones became critical. Moving forward, contingency planning – from diversifying suppliers to cross-training the workforce – is paramount to keeping business moving.
- Lean into purpose: Purpose is critically important, and will be even more so in the future, as consumers, employees and stakeholders continue to desire to associate with – and buy from – brands and companies with a commitment to positively impact society as a whole. Values alignment between stakeholders continues to be meaningful, but espoused values and words alone are no longer enough. Issues of racial injustice and associated civil unrest in 2020 created new calls for action among businesses, organizations and government. Those that don’t go beyond “messaging” to walk the talk will quickly be revealed for their inauthenticity, and fallouts, with bottom-line impacting results, will be inevitable. As PR practitioners we can serve as a valuable resource advising clients when their words on paper don’t pass the sniff test.
- Invest in technology: No doubt many organizations were caught technologically flat footed when it came time to allowing employees to work from home. Technology should be the subject of ongoing review and looked at through the lens of not only what does our team need today, but how can we use technology to better inform decision making, improve efficiencies, streamline operations and better serve our customers and consumers now and in the future. While paramount for our clients, the same holds true for agencies who need to better use technology today and tomorrow.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged our thinking and approach to many things, from minute daily tasks to business operations more broadly. As the world navigates the “new normal,” let’s keep the lessons from 2020 top of mind, so we can continue to move our clients, agencies – and the PR industry itself – forward.
Nuffer, Smith, Tucker is a full-service Worldcom public relations agency in San Diego with 47 years of experience and a vision to redefine the PR industry. www.NSTPR.com