As marketers, the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and its ensuing fallout serve as a reminder of the importance of effective communication — and that this is no time to dial back. Such an event offers us lessons in the most helpful and effective ways to communicate with our various audiences. Here are six guidelines we’re focusing on at IMPRINT:
1. A financial crisis is fundamentally a humanitarian issue.
It’s chaotic and nerve-racking, even for those who emerge relatively unscathed. But before addressing specific financial issues, express sympathy with those who’ve been hit by the crisis — especially those whose livelihoods have been taken away.
2. Help people stay financially healthy.
Collaborate with your internal partners, particularly HR, to help reinforce key messaging about financial fundamentals such as savings goals, emergency funds, and risk tolerance. Marketing can also assist in communicating organizational or business contingency updates as the impact of the crisis continues to unfold.
3. Be transparent.
In times of crisis, people are hungry for information — and frustrated when information is released in a piecemeal fashion. To combat this, be as transparent as possible with all the information you have. Provide regular updates. You don’t need to have all the answers, but making a good-faith effort to share information will build your audience’s trust.
4. Offer your customers support and reassurance, not products.
This kind of crisis can shake the public’s faith in the system, it’s true, but seasoned financial marketers have been through challenges before. Ensure that all your customers know you’re available for them and that you’re monitoring the situation on their behalf. An environment like this may also be an opportunity to reinforce your brand’s consistent messages, depending on what they are. For many financial services firms, this is an important time to remind folks about investing for the long term and maintaining an appropriately diversified portfolio.
5. Align with your service and sales teams.
They need your partnership now. Marketing can take a leadership role in developing consistent crisis messaging and other communications that function as key references for your organization during the immediate crisis. You could also consider providing access to trusted resources.
6. Review your public-facing communications.
Scan the work currently available on your owned, paid and other properties. Make sure the messaging is appropriate for the current climate. Update or remove anything that may be perceived as tone-deaf or insensitive.
Though we’re potentially in for a period of uncertainty, these six guidelines will make for more effective communications for your organization.