Marketers have an important role to play during the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis by driving a company’s response and recovery plan, says a risk expert.

Writing exclusively for WARC, Amit Narayan, a partner at specialist global risk consultancy Control Risks and lead for the India and South Asia business, observes that all crises present companies with opportunities to gain the trust and respect of both their shareholders and employees.

If managed properly, crises can help firms emerge as industry leaders, he adds. Marketers have a role to play in this, helping steer the conversation as part of a multi-disciplinary crisis-management team, Narayan says.

The priority of such teams is to understand what is going on and to consider a myriad of likely and impactful scenarios relating to the disruption – including the worst-case scenario.

“Scenario planning enables business leaders to understand the evolving nature of a threat and to stay ahead of the curve,” he explains. It also helps prepare for any escalation/de-escalation of the situation.

A particular consideration for brands is the impact of supply-chain disruption which has led to shortages of some products, including face masks, food staples, medicines, and even toilet rolls.

Some brands, Narayan notes, have sought to help customers by maintaining prices of essential goods, even as they restrict customer purchases or resort to other means to serve the public. Others, however, have capitalised on skyrocketing demand to increase prices.

“This crisis shall pass, and when the dust settles, customers will remember the brands and companies that have taken pains to build rapport and trust with consumers,” he says.

“Crises – like sports – don’t just build character; they reveal it. As brand ambassadors, marketers need to ensure that their brands are seen to serve the public interest and that their companies demonstrate socially responsible behaviour even in a crisis.”

Read more of Amit Narayan’s advice in his article: How marketers can de-risk the COVID-19 disruption. This forms part of a WARC Snapshot series featuring insights from a range of industry experts around this topic.

Sourced from WARC