For those of us who are immersed in the worlds of tech and finance, one of the most noticeable effects of COVID-19 on many companies is not the way they do business, but the way they communicate as a business. Put simply, their corporate communications.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that corporate communications was characterised as quite reactive, not that exciting and needing to take a leaf out of the brand communications book. But with the pandemic meaning most firms are unable to sell as many of their products and services as they normally would, some have discovered the value of effective corporate communications to ensure they remain visible and relevant to their customers and clients.
In particular, there are four ways in which the most agile FS firms and fintechs have evolved their corporate comms in recent weeks:
- I’m the boss. Forget anonymous customer service emails. Companies such as TransferWise or Erste Group have been notable for sharing personal letters from their CEOs in order to demonstrate that the very top of the organisation values the people who can turn the lights out for them. Companies in plenty of other sectors have followed suit.
- It’s good to talk. Monzo and Atombank have excelled at this. Staff from both challenger banks dispensed with the usual email or online processes and opted for a more personal touch through phone calls. Slower and not that high-tech? Yep. But what better way to increase customer loyalty than by actually listening to them (rather than simply saying that you do)?
- Content is king. Now it seems we are all COVID-19 experts. But take a step back to two months ago: Revolut or TD Bank aced their messaging and were quick to publish not only clear information to their clients on how the bank would operate and what would happen with their money, but also meaningful information about the then relatively unknown Coronavirus.
- How can we help? Although governments around the world are trying to support their citizens, many companies have taken it upon themselves to help the less fortunate. The smartest firms have communicated this. Citizens Bank, for example, launched a programme providing financial assistance to their borrowers – and it is the first thing you see on their website. Another good approach was the one taken by Stripe, who haven given SMEs the option to suspend subscription payments rather than having to cancel them.
It is of course still early days in judging which companies will emerge from this pandemic with the most enhanced reputations. But our hunch is that it will be those that have followed a similar approach to that outlined above.
In other words, those that have been personal, engaging, informative and empathetic.
Indeed, we’d argue that that was what good corporate communications was always all about.