It’s Monday the 25th May – the start of the two-day Hari Raya public holiday, which, like every other year is when Malaysian Muslims celebrate one of the holiest dates in the calendar. It’s also the time of the year when I take stock and reflect on what has been and what will be a period like no other for my colleagues, clients, friends and family.
It was 1984 when I first moved to the country I now call home, and like every year, the end of Ramadan brings with it a host of social events that are riskier this year. With COVID-19 controlled but not yet beaten, there are restrictions on movement between states, ensuring that any new outbreaks of the virus are contained within a locality. The tradition of open houses where social distancing isn’t usually the norm to reduce the risk under the watch of a Government determined to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
An uneven playing field inside Malaysia
It’s those businesses I want to return to now. The recently introduced Conditional Movement Control Order allows start-ups and SMEs, in particular, to re-open under tight rules and regulations. However, the whole economy is not yet functioning as one, and most workers seem to prefer working from home or are directed to do so by their cautious employers. Business is far from back to normal, but there are things companies can do to help make themselves more accessible to their stakeholders and attractive to new customers or investors.
But these freedoms vary from state to state, and from the areas most affected by the virus (red zones) to those least affected (green zones).
Surviving the storm and embracing the winds of change
It’s not as bleak as it looks on the surface with many companies adapting well to the new terrain and those able and sufficiently nimble have even managed to sustain an attractive and workable business model, whatever the challenges. This is of course, especially true for essential services. Still, beyond them, there’s a myriad of different companies in Malaysia weathering the storm through prudent business management and a strategic communications plan.
We’re seeing consumers turn more to the safety of the online space, and they want brands to keep their social channels ‘normal’. With the front pages of national papers and websites dominated by COVID-19, many media titles need content that isn’t focused on the pandemic – an excellent opportunity to raise your profile and talk about your business in a different light.
We are in this together
It’s hard to imagine a more challenging time to be a business leader. Like us at Precious Communications, you’re probably spending every spare moment thinking about how to adapt and stay ahead in a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment. We get it, and we’re here to help.
In a world that is increasingly divided, it’s important to remember that we’re at our best when we come together, collaborate and share. We shouldn’t forget what creativity and teamwork can achieve.
New media engagement formats
For communicators, marketers and business leaders, as with every crisis, it presents an opportunity for communicators to evaluate their content, marketing and business strategies. Stakeholder loyalty and engagement remains an always-on task, which means we have to collaborate and identify more creative ways to get your messages to them.
There is no change in tried and tested formats such as press releases, email interviews, newsjacking, targeted pitching. However, we have gotten creative and adjusted some of our PR activities.
Will you be ready for the rebound?
We have seen brands across the world pause marketing activity and limit their advertising spending while they plan a way to best communicate and engage with customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, many consumers are turning to the online space. Top tip: think about how you can keep your content informative, aspirational and engaging.
Don’t switch that visibility off
Unlike traditional advertising, which is often a one-way dialogue between a brand and its customers, the foundation of effective public relations is creating and nurturing multi-dimensional relationships. Think about how you can build a community by promoting case studies, real-life experiences and the positive efforts your business is taking. They can help to influence consumer decisions, allowing you to do more than just stay afloat, but leapfrog the competition and thrive in the new business landscape. Something close to business as usual will soon return, and you need to be ready.
Talk to our experts on communications and media relations
As the world and Malaysian businesses sail through uncharted waters, partner with a specialist PR firm that can work closely with you. Lead the way to turn challenges into opportunities and create strategies and narratives that appeal to your most important stakeholders. For a 20-minute free consultation, please contact us here and begin your journey with us, so you don’t just survive, but thrive.