Ivan N Baliboola
I recently went to a Ugandan supermarket. I had my temperature taken. Staff sanitized my hands and shoes. I was given a free face mask.
This got me thinking about business continuity.
Obviously no one ever planned or anticipated Covid-19 impacts. Every brand was shocked but you cannot remain in that state forever.
Check your brand plan and polish it.
Communications is a key component for the continuity of any brand during tough times, but brand continuity planning must go beyond just crisis communications.
Many companies sent out messages about their businesses process following COVID-19 lockdown, and forgot to innovate.
There is no way a business can survive the coronavirus pandemic if work plans were shelved.
The Strategic plan was probably developed last year without much consideration of social distancing which is a reality today.
Plan as a team.
Public Relations, sales, marketing and operation plans must be reviewed more frequently than ever before. Brand managers must work with other departments on a holistic status operation report which is reviewed every 15-21 days.
It is usually the time new COVID-19 prevention measures are announced. The measures can significantly determine the existence of any organization.
Management must know what processes will work and those that will stop moving forward. A lot has changed.
Every individual and corporate brand has new competitors because of COVID-19. Did hotels imagine that conferences would all go to TV and ZOOM?
Did the lipstick industry envision facemasks as direct competitors?
Agility and creativity is the new normal for any business to flourish. Business trends during coronavirus are changing almost every 24 hours.
Business continuity means learning, research, and unlearning to move forward. Define and clarify your brand character and values.
What is your competence and vision as a company?
It is tempting to start new COVID-19 lines of operations out of excitement, and regret the decision.
Court of public opinion matters more now during this pandemic and after.
Is it a time for discounts? Some local brands have received a backlash for rolling out controversial COVID-19 CSR activities. Stakeholder engagement must be balanced.
This is a time to invest in staff relations to encourage innovations and creativity.
It is not a time to suspend employment contracts or sack employees. It is the right time to challenge staff to develop new ideas.
You will need staff to think of cheaper and efficient implementation plans.
How do you expect the brand to progress when you fire staff? Staff performance is key for productivity during the pandemic and after.
Plan how to address questions on access, quality, ability and permission. Develop both offline and online processes.
What is the best alternative form of staff transport to work that the organization can control?
Have you thought about aligning working times?
Should all employees be forced to stay near office?
Is working from home better?
Have you developed staff reskilling online programmes during COVID-19?
What are the current and future supplier issues?
Don’t get stuck to the same suppliers who are affected by lockdown.
There is a gentleman who is into sanitizers and liquid soap manufacturing.
He told me that he stopped deliveries because the shop downtown that used to supply him with packaging materials temporarily closed.
Even when I tried to challenge him to source for new suppliers, he seemed not interested.
He is unhappy about cancelling orders and doing nothing. Imagine people who had arcade offices and do not have a home emergency office.
There is a lot to consider about business continuity.
Brand budgets are increasing due to COVID-19 rules, but it will pay off.
Brands must be rethinking their organizational culture in relation to coronavirus prevention measures.
Brands treating the pandemic as a drill may never recover. World Health Organization noted that COVID-19 is likely to be with us like the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
We are likely to live with this pandemic for a longer time. It pays to have that thinking in brand planning even when lockdowns are partially lifted.
The author is a PR and organisational diagnosis specialist