IAA releases advice from global marketing comms leaders about keeping staff safe and motivated throughout COVID-19

Heather Leembruggen, International Advertising Association (IAA) Global vice president and chairman emeritus of IAA Australia, has said that maintaining staff should be business’ focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IAA has collated messages of support and advice from 27 marketing communications leaders and members of the organisation from around the world, targeted at businesses navigating the crisis.

Heather Leembruggen offered her advice to businesses navigating the COVID-19 crisis

In her contribution, Leembruggen advised that “building staff morale, confidence, team spirit and job security are critical to maintain one’s business engine ticking in today’s crisis and will inspire generating ideas for future growth.”

To do this, Leembruggen suggested making staff feel comfortable about working from home, re-assuring them about their importance to the company, and building their confidence and loyalty in the company.

“Keep in constant communication with staff with reassuring messages both online and by actual phone calls to ensure you are caring for their health welfare as well as their mental health. Build their confidence and loyalty in the company,” she said.

“Above all communicate, communicate, communicate: to build morale and inspire them to keep them thinking and working towards achieving personal and professional business goals.”

Chief marketing officer of Facebook, Antonio Lucio, also advised that staff have to be at the forefront of business decisions at this time.

“First and foremost, we must take care of our own,” Lucio said.

“The health and wellness of our fellow colleagues and employees is vital to ensuring we can not only weather this storm, but also emerge in a position of strength to move forward. For example, following the advice of authoritative resources, offering flexible leave and work from home policies, showing care and proactively providing useful resources are just a few things we all can be doing.”

Lucio also reiterated Facebook’s stance on providing accurate information during the crisis, suggesting brands look to social media as a means of communicating critical messages.

“At times like this it’s very important to be able to get critical messages out to people and this is something that social networks can do very effectively. This is why our top priorities as a company are to be focused on making sure everyone has accurate information, supporting global health experts and stopping misinformation and harmful content,” he said.

The initiative from the IAA has been running throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and was led with the contribution from chairman and world president of IAA Global, Srinivasan Swamy.

Swamy suggested that brands experiencing a stagnant period during the crisis should plan an aggressive marketing strategy.

“This is for the first time, in known human history that a pandemic as virulent has hit possibly every country of the world. But this too shall pass. We should use this period to plan an aggressive marketing strategy to build volumes quickly once the countries open up. This is akin to the first mover advantage, to capture a high market share. How ready will you be to take advantage of the opportunity?” Swamy said.

Contributions to the initiative have also been made by Havas Creative Group global CMO Tracey Barber, director of the Outreach Division Department of Global Communications and commissioner-general of the United Nations Maher Nasser, Nielsen Media head of TV and audio products Scott Brown, and vice president of global marketing for Google Joshua Spanier. The full list of advice can be accessed here.


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