You have a business trip. Should you stay or should you go? How about an event? Cancel it or allow it to go ahead?
President Trump said he intends to continue to travel and hold rallies. He flew to Orlando today (March 10) for an event. However, there was no rally on his schedule. For weeks Trump's held events opposite the Democrats' primary events. Perhaps he got word that Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were likely to cancel events.
Throw in the Towel on Rallies?
Is it safe for the president to travel to rallies? A member of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sidestepped the question during Monday's press briefing. It's a "judgment call," he said.
Depending on your opinion about coronavirus, moving ahead with business as usual, including taking business trips, signifies strength. It could embellish your reputation with the public. On the other hand, it could signify the height of foolishness, or worse, a lack of concern for staff and customers.
Either way, communicators must craft the message that explains the choice. Since audience members are seeing extremes--some events are continuing, others are postponed or cancelled — reactions could be heated (see sports story below).
As with all messages, pay attention to word choice and tone. And communicate broadly. People are seeking guidance in this uncertain moment. Government reaction has been uneven; some are offering insight for citizens, others are woefully silent. Brands are filling the void. And don't forget the elderly or other groups that might not have online access or visit Twitter and other sites.
Delta CEO Ed Bastion sent a nicely written missive to 20 million Delta stakeholders on March 9. What can communicators learn from this well-delivered tactic?
- It's comforting, noting Delta’s experience dealing with health issues, such as Ebola and H1N1.
- It's informative. He segues easily into an intro for a separate site that outlines steps Delta is taking to ensure “healthy flying.”
- It's polite to a point. Bastion tap dances around the question of whether you should fly or not. Should you opt out, he alerts customer they can obtain a refund.
- It's honest. Bastion, as you might expect, comes out on the side of moving ahead. “We understand that in today’s world, travel is fundamental to our business and our lives, which is why it can’t – and shouldn’t – simply stop. I believe Delta’s mission of connecting the world and creating opportunities is never more important than at times like this.”
This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.