When most of us first heard about the coronavirus back in December of 2019, we really did not expect it to hit the U.S. or for it to have the impact it did in the first countries it struck: China, Iran, Italy, and Spain. Then, March happened and every aspect of our lives changed, perhaps, forever. In the U.S. alone, over 103,000 people have died, close to 2 million are confirmed affected and the reality of masks and social distancing is likely with us for a year or more.
Then, there’s the statistic that continues to rise alarmingly even as others improve: the U.S. currently has over 40 million unemployed people. In less than six months a future we could not have predicted became an unfathomable present and we lost control of most of the circumstances that impact our personal, professional, and business lives. Uncertainty has become the new normal and no one has any idea how or when it will end.
It’s probable that when this pandemic has passed, we will face the most catastrophic economy in this nation’s history. I am no economist nor am I here to discuss my thoughts on our short-term future, but as a communications strategist, I want to point out actions we’re taking in this crisis that in the short- and mid-term could cost our brands and businesses dearly. We’re living through a major disruption. The potential negative stakeholder responses that result may impact your organization’s reputation, strategic business objectives, and viability. It is critical in this crisis environment to maintain your customers’ trust and confidence. They are the lifeblood of your organization’s business and mission.