I’ve held off writing this post, and debated whether to write it or not. That’s not because it’s a political post, more because the Brexit situation changes every day.
By the time this is published, there will already have been at least one major vote on the matter this week, possibly two. By the end of today there could have been another. Quite where we’ll find ourselves is a different matter all together.
What’s this got to do with content?
As I said, this is not a political post. All we can say with any certainty is there is going to be a lot of uncertainty. Which is not great for customer confidence in pretty much anything. Although the Consumer Confidence Index was up slightly in February, which probably just goes to show how uncertain and unpredictable things are.
If you think back to this time last year, we were all mainly worrying about GDPR. Brands that communicated well over that managed to buffer their businesses from it being a disaster. But we were all working with clearer (though not crystal clear) guidelines
Right now, not much is clear. So, what could you be doing?
What are you planning for?
Even in a smaller business, you might well have looked at the potential impacts and thought about what you might do in that situation. Maybe there’s no impact whatever happens. Perhaps you’re anticipating a short term disruption to some elements. There might be a more doomsday scenario.
What can you tell customers now?
You could choose to tell your customers now what you’re planning for. You could update it hourly, or as and when the situation changes. Ultimately you’re telling your story. When people talk about honesty and authenticity in storytelling then this situation has the potential to be an ideal example of that.
You don’t have to scaremonger (see point later about taking sides), you can just tell them what you’re thinking.
What to tell them after
Say your short term disruption scenario comes to pass. Or worse.
The worst thing in any difficult situation is to pretend it’s not happening, carry on as normal and then let people down. Use all your channels to tell people. Write a blog post, put tweets out, email your list. Honesty is definitely the best policy in the long run, even if people think otherwise in the short term.
Maybe people will desert you because others keep holding out promises they can’t deliver on. Those who believe in what you do will have their belief reinforced. Be consistent with the story and values you’ve always put out there.
If you’ve always had rubbish delivery times and customer service, then feel free to ignore.
To take sides or not?
I don’t think any of us are in any doubt where Wetherspoons stands on the subject of Brexit. It’s impossible to separate the business and the owner on this subject, and therefore people will make their own decisions on the basis of the owner’s support for Brexit.
This is an entirely personal thing, based on you and your business. It will colour the story of your content. Whatever you decide, I would just suggest that you keep everything consistent. If you’re going to pin your colours to a particular mast then do it and be clear that that is your position.
It’s also worth thinking in advance about how you are going to deal with those of a different perspective. Whichever way you go, this is a very divisive subject at this point. Are you going into battle for what you believe, or attempting to find common ground? Better to think about it now than in the heat of the moment.
You might choose to keep your personal perspective separate to your business perspective. I imagine there will be a great many in that camp. When you’re writing about the possible impacts, remember to keep your language neutral and fact based. There’ll still be someone that objects, so prepare for that too.
This too shall pass
Last year all our headspace was occupied with GDPR. Or that’s how it felt at the time to many. Now we do business on a daily basis with GDPR as our new normal.
Maybe in 12 months time we’ll have moved on from this. Although in some scenarios, we might not. Never mind “keep dancing”, I say “keep talking”. We’re all going to be very confused and uncertain. Do what you can to not add to it.
Apologies in advance if this goes out and is completely irrelevant by the time you read it. Politics is a funny old game right now.