For many of us, the pandemic has either confirmed or denied our greatest fears related to earth’s impending doom. For the optimists, for myself, I’ve woken up every day since quarantine assuring myself that everything will be okay. Then, my mind immediately displays the image of a cartoon meme where a dapper yellow dog sits in the middle of a fire and, with a smile, says to himself, “this is fine.”
As a public relations firm, Sammis|Ochoa has approached the pandemic’s impending aftermath with research and brainstorming. How will this affect the relationships we help build, and how can we help? While we still do not know how the aftermath will unravel, exactly, we know things have already changed for many businesses out there, including ours.
Restaurants are capitalizing on take-out, bars have begun to sell alcohol to-go, retail stores have increased curb-side sales, and that is only the beginning. As these changes continue to impact the community, they will also continue to impact how businesses operate.
In the grand scheme of things, businesses can go virtual. In theory, sure, let’s cut to the chase, let’s eliminate the bacteria-infested spaces, and let’s do everything online. This is something that I have heard in countless academic and professional circles over the years as technology has advanced, but I have learned it is simply not possible. Not all businesses are capable of going virtual, infrastructure still needs to be built, patients still need to be tended to, and children still need supervision.
Many people are comfortable with the idea of virtual life, but there is a great deal more that knows there is no way that would be sustainable. In the aftermath of the pandemic, businesses would do best to advertise their strengths overall, not just their website. Relationships can undoubtedly blossom in text, online or otherwise, but it is the human touch and connection that proves to be most beneficial to all. Without diving too deep into the research that proves this, you are going to have to understand that people need people.
Regardless of the Internet’s accessibility, people still need people and these are the things businesses should care about when people are finally let out of their homes.
1. Continue to stay clean. With the small exception of the hole-in-wall joints, no one else knows about, restaurants should have always been kept clean. I, myself, worked in the food industry once, and the guidelines for restaurant hygiene is more than established. Restaurants have, and should have always been, clean. However, it wouldn’t hurt to continue advertising your clean space to your patrons. Post your sanitation guidelines on your website’s homepage or update your businesses homepage if you have one.
2. Consider rearranging or remodeling your space. People are going to continue being exposed to the torment of news articles reminding them that they are susceptible to disease at every public space they visit. Right now, COVID is the most pressing, and therefore a typically crowded space will do best if left less crowded. If you can welcome your customers with a new space after this pandemic, even if it is just a change in table-placement, they may feel more inclined to believe that you are doing everything you can to prevent the spread. Post photos of the “new” space on your social media outlets! If you don’t have them, now is the time to try one out. Instagram is a great first start.
3. Consider making curbside/delivery permanent. If your business wasn’t curbside before the pandemic, consider establishing the feature. While people need people, there will be days where people need solitude. The carry-out, curb-side, or delivery option will always be a welcomed amenity. If you already have a following online, blast the new feature EVERYWHERE. If you don’t, consider mailing out a coupon for the new feature to the surrounding neighborhoods.
Have faith in the significance of people. Studies have proven people’s innate need to be surrounded by positive connections and relationships. It’s not impossible to live in isolation but there are benefits that people enjoy when they are with others. If your business can create or provide that experience, then do.
By Erika Perez
To get your business prepared to communicate please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210.367.0949.