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COVID-19 Crisis Communications for Your Cannabis Company

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Author: Neko Catanzaro, Vice-President of Public Relations and Brand Development, Proven Media

COVID-19 Crisis Communications for Your Cannabis Company

During times of crisis, it is important for companies and brands to continue consistent and timely communications that uphold their core values.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic making it critical to control your company messaging so that your internal team and external community feel safe and supported.

  • DON’T go dark
  • DON’T assume the “business as usual” mantra

This is not a normal situation and treating it as one will appear insensitive or out of touch.

  • Communication protocol: A clear chain of command needs to be established to provide efficient communication of a crisis situation.
  • Internal (advocates for stakeholders) vs. External (public/media) communication channels
  • Will there be paid sick leave?
  • Ensure all of their stakeholders, employees, and customers have the information they need to feel safe and supported.
  • Messaging / Template Statements: Start a framework for company statements that follow a similar pattern of address:
  • Acknowledge what is happening
  • State what your company has done
  • Medical marijuana patients who have compromised immune systems could be more susceptible to COVID-19, what steps are you taking to manage that?
  • Social distancing strategies in retail environments
  • Alternative consumption options to smoking
  • State what your company plans on doing
  • Provide ongoing updates as to your company’s status on an internal and external level

Social Channels

Digital and social channels are a valuable medium to convey these communications.

  • Educate: Provide information to your community and followers on the criticality of the situation, health steps are taken as a company to manage the crisis, and to amplify information that is being distributed by organizations like the WHO.
  • Empathy: Be considerate of your followers through your tone of voice. It should be thoughtful, fact-based, and transparent, as well as Inspire confidence in your brand through your actions.
  • Anticipate: Your customer’s behavior and the environment are going to be different during a crisis. Utilize your social platforms as a network to support the evolving needs of your community. For individuals who are working remotely or in isolation, social channels and live-streaming will be an effective way to connect and provide a welcome distraction.

Proactive Tips

  • Review and evaluate all scheduled content on social
  • Monitor the media for updates
  • Brand messaging should align with the latest information and reference trusted sources like the CDC and World Health Organization.  
  • Staying up to date allows your brand to establish further trust with your followers, because messages that may have felt right yesterday, might not be accurate today.
  • Set-up dark pages on your website
  • Allows your company to host important information and share it through a link, versus having valuable content get lost across social channels

Concluding Message

Be considerate and thoughtful. People across the globe and in your community are being impacted by COVID-19 in a variety of ways, your messaging should reflect this.

article image source: williamette week https://www.wweek.com/

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