Guest blog by CIPR President Elect Mandy Pearse
The need for a professional PR has never been greater as we face the challenges of COVID-19. No matter which sector we work in the communications challenges have and will be great.
The initial stages of lockdown provided the opportunity for PR professionals to guide their organisations as they sought to rapidly move employees to working from home on a scale we have never seen before. For those still working the challenge has been to ensure that all employees understand the requirements for safe working. And alongside this internal communicators have had to develop with ICT colleagues new solutions for meeting via video conference and keeping a sense of organisational unity through closed social platforms.
The external challenge has been no less. Government PR teams have been working flat out to provide clear, consistent messaging at a UK wide level to ensure citizens know what is require. Local service providers in NHS, local government, care and transport have been working to communicate what services are available to support people, how to access them and organise local community responses.
For those PR freelancers and agencies working to help communicate their clients’ response to COVID-19 whether that be to reconfigure services to online alternatives or to explain that services will be halted until further notice it has been critical to ensure the reputation of their clients is managed through a professional PR response.
The contribution that professional communicators make to their organisations and clients has never been more recognised than now.
And for those who work freelance or in agencies where work has been hugely disrupted I say now is the time to stay strong. Your professional skills will be in demand again soon. If you can take the opportunity to access the CIPR’s free webinars and resources and consider if you can invest a small amount in developing your skills through virtual training.
We are starting to look to the world beyond lockdown and I have no doubt that PR professionals will have a key role in helping us all understand what the new normal will look like.