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Maintaining effective communications in challenging times

In times of rapid change and uncertainty, communicating in a timely and effective manner moves to the top of the corporate agenda. The stream of COVID-19-related Regulatory News Service announcements seen in the last few days alone is testament to that, but the time and resource required to manage the communications process beyond a regulatory announcement can be a significant challenge for companies when their focus is necessarily on financial and operational priorities.

The need to maintain a clear channel of communication with key stakeholders, and the resources required to do so, may be weighing heavily on companies at this time, especially when the news is negative. Maintaining good communication practices is, however, all the more important in difficult times when clarity, consistency and the strict adherence to approved information is vital.

While communications needs may differ by stakeholder group – from institutional investors and analysts, to retail investors, employees, customers, suppliers, partners and regulators – a good first step is to consider how best to make information as easy to access as possible by all audiences.

Set out below are some of the ways we are already supporting our clients, with both the content and management of their communications. 

We have presented these as a short checklist which we hope will be useful:

Communications checklist:

  1. Website homepage banner or link: ensure that COVID-19 information is clearly signposted on your website home page so that it can be found quickly and easily by all audiences
  2. A single, central point for information: aim to have all COVID-19 information in one place on the website, probably in the form of a list of announcements in date order
  3. Factsheets: consider drafting a factsheet on the impact of COVID-19, in an easily updateable format, that can be posted on the website and shared with employees and customers, as required
  4. Email alerts: check that your website offers an email alert facility for those wishing to receive announcements, factsheets or newsletters as soon as they are published (especially relevant for retail investors)
  5. Consider video: consider using video to help make communication as clear and accessible as possible to non-professional investors, employees and customers. Video can be particularly effective in communicating complex messages clearly and with impact which may be especially valuable at this time
  6. Make transcripts available: where an RNS announcement has been accompanied by a webcast or analyst call, consider making a transcript available on your website, signalling a constructive and transparent approach to communications
  7. Infographics and illustration: where reports are being compiled, including Annual Reports, consider whether infographics or illustration could be used to support our communications at a point when new photography is not an option
  8. Look to your communications agency for support: lastly, make sure you keep in touch with your communications agency to see how they can best help you and, wherever possible, lighten the communications load – they will be eager to support you in any way they can.

If you would like to discuss any of these points with us here at Luminous, please get in touch.

Stephen Butler, Harriet Rumball and Sophie Bradley
Luminous Investor Engagement
strategy@luminous.co.uk or Tel: 020 7101 1677

 

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Harriet Rumball

Harriet has a strong interest in strategic communications planning, governance and corporate reporting and is a Senior Consultant in the Luminous Stakeholder Engagement team.

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