Let me interject a little bit of good news or at least a silver lining through the whole Coronavirus pandemic crisis PR matter. I read in the San Diego Union-Tribune about how this landlord in a section called Normal Heights actually gave three months of rent-free to all his tenants. This story shows why it’s important to communicate to all audiences before things get completely out of control.
Turns out three of the landlord’s tenants came to him a couple of weeks ago and told him they probably couldn’t make rent because their businesses dried thanks to the shelter in place orders. Well, this landlord recognized that if he didn’t do something quick, he was going to have several tenants going under.
He quickly communicated with his lenders about restructuring his mortgage on the property, and, in doing so, provided three months free rent all of his tenants. While this won’t solve all the problems, it’s a perfect example of why you don’t wait until bad news gets absolutely worse before you start talking about it.
As you do, you’ll need to get comfortable with the fact that you won’t have all the information readily available, and more bad news will likely follow. However, like your parents told you, come to folks early about a problem before it gets bigger, hoping all the while that the issue will just go away. Hope isn’t a strategy.
The same holds for your crisis communications for your business. If you’ve got bad news, start talking about it early. Oftentimes, people will come to the rescue when you do.