Communicating in a crisis: Aficionados PR & Communications
The UAE is still in its expanded response to the coronavirus pandemic; self-isolation is the new norm (as are runs on essential products).
But as our routines become disrupted, so too have local businesses (as evident form the tidal wave of automated emails you have received over the last few weeks). Yes, it seems just about every company you’ve ever bought anything from has been in touch – either to inform you about a change in service or offer some sort of discount.
But spamming a captured audience isn’t necessarily the best way that brands should be communicating with their customers.
"Adaptation is key," says Mustafa Abbas, founder of Aficionados PR & Communications. "When customer satisfaction is not genuinely the highest priority, it can be easily felt."
"A company's intentions can't stay hidden for very long. Many businesses have been started for various reasons, and those reasons are going to be shown in a time of crisis. For better, or for worse.
Aficionados PR & Communications is a Dubai-based boutique communications agency, whose objective is to support localy based and homegrown brands and businesses.
It does so on the basis of two core values: integrity and originality. Two facets that every brand needs to be aware of when communicating in a crisis.
Having owned, founded and managed different businesses - everything from hi-fi to grooming, leather to real estate - Abbas has become an expert for what does and does not work in the UAE.
“To survive this crisis, brands need to be honest and start delivering. Fast deliveries and decisive consumers make for an excellent formula," says Abbas.
So what’s a brand got to do? There is a fine line between seeming concerned and appearing like an ambulance-chasing opportunist. Brands should first look at their messaging, and whether or not they actually do have something new to say or contribute.
So by all means, brands should help consumers with discounts and charity drives. Mention how they are protecting staff. But stop sending out automated promo messages (especially, if you're not being genuine).
Esquire now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.