How communication changed in 2020

Working in an industry-agnostic communications agency, we watched from front row seats as the pandemic uniquely confronted every sector and, at a more granular level, each individual business. 

For some businesses, the impact was fatal; but for most, COVID-19 launched a period of great uncertainty and, with the beauty of hindsight, great opportunity. 

This was made clear through the development of innovations such as telehealth and assisted reality (AR), fast-tracked years ahead of schedule to ensure people still had access to healthcare and a new hybrid workplace in a socially distant world. In fact, innovation, resilience, and adaptability became the keys for survival in every industry. 

The communications sector was not exempt from such transformative change. Business owners and leaders acknowledged the need to consider the breadth of their internal and external stakeholders and coordinate tailored messages to each of them on a far more frequent basis. Communication was at the core of many business continuity plans. 

As practitioners, this positioned us in the war room of businesses. The integral business function fulfilled by communication teams and professionals across the globe was recognised at a new level, and in response, practitioners needed to themselves employ innovation, resilience and adaptability to be able to communicate with clarity and concision in a world of panic and confusion. 

No, that didn’t mean jamming ‘unprecedented’ or other COVID clichéinto every other sentence. It meant being able to articulate informative instructions, share authentic messages of support, recognise the outstanding efforts of employees, detail changes in servicing to clients or customers, and help leaders communicate the future of a business with confidence and brevity. 

Here are two ways communication has changed in 2020. 

 

Corporate communication was crowned king 

The Influence 100 Survey suggests the pandemic re-established the primacy of corporate communication over consumer marketing and traditional public relations.  

During this time, internal and employee engagement, crisis counsel, and corporate reputation management became vital elements for business continuity. Businesses became less focused on disseminating good news stories to media, and instead leveraged new and existing owned channels to communicate directly to employees, clients and consumers, shareholders, government and other stakeholders. 

This shift in focus has continued even as the effects of the pandemic have begun to subside in Australia. Outside of COVID, the business landscape has become increasingly turbulent with companies called upon to engage in public debate on controversial topics such as climate change, sustainability, diversity and politics. With this in mind, its expected corporate communication will remain in vogue for some time. 

 

A digital world 

Of course, the digital revolution has been in effect since last century and, over time, we’ve increasingly leveraged digital platforms for communication purposes. But in 2020, when the population was in lockdown and working platforms like Zoom and Teams became essential, so too did all business communication require an online platform for dissemination.  

 This was evident in the media bloodbath which occurred mid-2020, when scores of print publications were either discontinued or only available online.  

Our devices have become the gateway for receiving or obtaining any kind of communication, be it the news of the day or an internal memo from your employer. 

 

Get in touch 

Elevate Communication’s growing team of communication professionals have extensive experience in business communication. 

 Our team can ensure your communication strategy is aligned with your organisational objectives and we pride ourselves on becoming an extension of your business.