Crisis and…Promotional Products?
How can Promotional Products Help in times of Crisis?
With all the natural disasters plaguing communities globally these days, crisis communications teams are working tirelessly to lead your organization’s name through the trenches of disaster and into blue skies. Crisis communications do so much for your organization’s reputation, but beyond establishing your social responsibility, what are some keys to make those communication pieces more thoughtful, appreciated and respected. There are countless “not to do” examples out there, but we want to share ideas that spur your team in the right, and possibly new, direction.
Supporting the Relief Teams
During times of tragedy there are a few key players to consider within your organization, and how you can help them.
These are the members of your teams, your communities, your friends and family, your fellow citizens, that need your assistance. They are dealing with insurmountable loss, the stress of rebuilding, insurance claims, medical bills, the list goes on endlessly. Your organization can help.
- If possible, prior to the crisis, develop a thorough plan of approach for teams to evacuate safely
- Create a means for your employees to pitch in and support their teammates financially
- Donate non-perishable goods by holding collection bins, or sending off-brand or older campaign promo items
- Host a blood drive
- Create a campaign celebrating the affected, like a survivor’s campaign or a remembrance initiative in honor of friends and family
A Survivor’s Campaign
It may seem untimely to consider a marketing campaign, but this isn’t marketing, this is a rallying cry for those impacted by the disasters. Much like a cancer survivor campaign, you can create a community within the region starting with your employee network. Think of powerful messaging that will help lift spirits around the community. (With this campaign, be sure to send clear messages that you want (and may be able to help) your teams to get away from the disaster. Survival doesn’t mean experiencing the tragedies, but it does mean taking each moment during repair and appreciating what you have.)
We certainly hope these tragedies are weathered without loss of life – human or pets. But there are times that grieving and remembering is in order. Candlelight vigils and celebrations of memory may be in order. Give time to the members affected before making plans, but be ahead of the game communicating internally on their behalf of any loss they may be enduring. If nothing else, alleviating those team members of unnecessary work stress will help them during this time.
The teams manning the phones (or emails more likely), drafting communication plans for you to release internally and externally to employees, stakeholders, customers and beyond. These members deserve kudos for their hard work. They often see and hear the gritty details of stories and protect the larger audiences from the harder-to-hear stories. But they work tirelessly to bring people from all over together to stand united for the affected.
The Foot Soldiers
Whether it’s the person who reached out and shared a story of a colleague’s personal battles, or a person who heads out to the disaster-strewn areas to offer physical help during the relief, show your appreciation for the Foot Soldiers. Encourage other members of your teams to join the brigade by creating a sense of pride for being on this special team. And consider offering items or information on how to stay safe while helping.
The leadership members deal with a unique struggle. They are often watching closely as disaster hits their teams. These team members they see as the next closest thing to family – people they may interact with more than some family members. They are also most likely the ones to make undesirable calls based on issues out of their hands such as unpredictable forecasts. Help them by making clear cut company policies that support their teams. Give them ways to reach out to their teams to check-in on their safety and well-being often. Train them to leave the business at the door and focus on their team members as individual people if necessary. Right now the focus is on protecting those who do so much for your organization every day.
Support Beyond the Relief
Have ongoing programs that donate funds to regional organizations that employees are members and/or participants of. Talk to your Staples representative about all the ways your organization can help your teams and other community members affected by disaster.