Opinion: Keep calm and brave Brexit

In light of Brexit, Kitty Parry, CEO at financial PR consultancy Templars Communications, advises communications professionals around how they can create confidence in the wake of a shock. 

Kitty 1

Kitty Parry

With the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU, England’s spectacular loss to Iceland in the European Championship and the lamentable resignation of a certain Top Gear presenter, the country has had a hard time of it of late, experiencing a series of shocks akin to a sudden divorce or the loss of a job.

Under normal circumstances, a series of exits within a business or sector may create panic and inspire impulsive behaviour that could be damaging in the long term. Recent events (Brexit, specifically), have seen more guarded behaviour from companies and clients alike.

I offer three tips to inspire confidence in the wake of Brexit:

Align messaging so that it is consistent

There is nothing worse than sending mixed messages to clients, investors and the media. Ultimately, this will cause confusion and a lack of trust, especially as trust levels in the financial services sector are fairly low at present. When it comes to events like Brexit, it’s important to make sure your messaging doesn’t alienate any stakeholders. It needs to be understood universally.

Manage external communications

Rogue ‘off the record’ comments to reporters can be damaging to your reputation, particularly when they are seen to reflect the views of the entire company. A good PR agency will help to create a series of voice pieces and can be a point of contact for any enquiries, managing exactly what is on the record.

Remember that internal communication is equally important

Maintaining morale while ensuring that your team feels safe, and confident of the direction in which the business is going amidst a seemingly endless ocean of confusion, is essential. This will position you above others, and will translate well externally to other stakeholders. Most importantly, reminding your team that anything posted online is most definitely not off the record, even if it’s just a retweet, is also part of maintaining good internal communications.

Communications is key. Your stakeholders (internal and external) need to know your standpoint and what the company plans to do to protect its interests. For now, companies are biding their time and waiting for what comes next, believing that they are unable to make key decisions until this time.

There is, however, no harm in being prepared for any eventuality. Few people will see this as an opportunity, which gives you the chance to get ahead of the pack.

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