As COVID-19 infections continue to have a deadly impact on the world, we are entering into a new era of what many are calling a ‘new normal’. The rules of engagement in in this new era, however, are far from understood.

At this stage of the pandemic’s evolution, we know that it has created challenges for every kind of organisation and impacted the lives of billions of people. There can be few jobs unaffected. Teachers, clerical staff, waiters, actors, office workers, chefs, taxi drivers and farmers – many have lost their jobs and many hundreds of millions more are living precariously.

Sadly, and more importantly, we also know that as of mid-August, over 700,000 lives have been lost and more than 21 million people have been infected globally. The toll on families and communities – not to mention livelihoods – is immeasurable. For those who run businesses and who are responsible for existing employment and for job creation, these are also very difficult times: they face an uphill task just to stay afloat and many carry an enormous responsibility to keep jobs alive.

Knowing your customer

One of the keys to staying in business during these difficult times is to understand what your customer base needs and knowing how to deliver it. Communications is at the heart of that mission. The insights that we have gained from carrying out research on how people engage with key stakeholders including the media and with brands, provide us with an opportunity to stay in touch with our clients and the other stakeholders our operations effect. The role that the media plays is of particular importance – and our most recent Djembe Insights Report shows how the relationship between citizens and the media has changed during the pandemic.

The shift in attitudes towards – and consumption of – news during the age of COVID-19 has profound implications for how organizations engage with key stakeholders within the context of the new norm – and much has changed. The way we consume media has shifted – we read wider, trust less, investigate more and explore alternative sources. There are opportunities to engage with our customers and stakeholders through longer copy and investigative journalism, even in social media and on digital platforms. There is a great thirst for truth and integrity in a nuanced world.

We witness many industries opening up whilst others retract. In some countries, borders have relaxed and then closed again as infection rates spike. This presents workers, businesses, and policymakers with great uncertainty. For all humanity we are in testing times.

The way we communicate with each other is, therefore, terribly important. As societies, employers, leaders and brands we have a duty to be straight, to communicate clearly and in a timely manner. We also find ourselves needing to stay close as communities, lending support to the vulnerable and taking care of friends and family in difficult circumstances. This is a shift in the way we speak to each other and look out for each other – and it leaves us better prepared for what the future holds.

This as yet undefined new normal appears to have laid bear a kindness within most of humanity that reflects a need for – and willingness to give – compassion and honesty. It is a new normal that will enable us to re-emerge stronger than before.

Client Initiatives

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