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It’s been a rough ride for many automotive and mobility suppliers this year as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the industry with shutdowns, disruption, uncertainty, and a scramble of changed plans.
As companies go through the stages of righting themselves and reintroducing production, deciding what news, if any, to promote in this environment can be especially difficult for a company’s communications and PR teams.
It’s a hard time to know exactly how to proceed when it comes to gaining media coverage and getting your messaging out there with the right tone, all while dealing with dramatic changes in the marketing and media landscape.
But this can be a time of great opportunity … IF communicators are able to take advantage of the altered 2020 roadmap, take the temperature of the current news cycle and think of targeted, transparent, original news to pitch that aligns with awareness of today’s environment.
This is the time for automotive suppliers to step outside their usual playbook and to strategize how to provide helpful, interesting content that doesn’t ignore the pandemic and doesn’t appear tone-deaf, but that can also buoy their brands and strategies.
Efforts should be based on rebalancing your 2020 media outreach goals to best address all the changes your key audiences are dealing with and focusing on their current concerns while remaining committed to your core messaging from pre-Covid times.
Here are five things to consider that can help PR professionals at automotive mobility suppliers to capture media coverage in today’s pandemically challenged media environment:
1. Share Your Corona Strategy – Has your company taken any unique measures to deal with the pandemic and getting back to production? Have you compared yourself against industry peers and noticed that your company is taking a different approach or has more involved, detailed tactics in place? Have you seen standout success based on decisions made in terms of staff, goals, procedures, safety testing, etc.? Were there any measures that didn’t work that were adjusted to result in a better benefit?
2. Trend Shifting – What impact has the pandemic had on your forecasts or predictions around the auto industry’s megatrends or your specific product technology roadmaps? Has this altered your company’s focus? Have you seen shifts in conversations in terms of automated vehicles, consumer demands, outlook, fuel economy, design, or how automakers are working with supplier partners? Have any new trends been born form this year’s disruption that were not previously on your radar? How is your company dealing with vastly changed business outlooks? Remember the reporters are always looking for fresh, bold takes to deliver to their readers.
3. Investment Moves – Along with any changing trends, has your company shifted its priorities in terms of current and future investments due to the pandemic? In terms of workforce or in R&D? In acquisitions, core competencies or partnerships? What do your experts feel are the right areas to be investing in now that they weren’t focused on so strongly prior? Any surprising decisions or realizations?
4. Let Your People Shine – Do you have some good, impactful, unique human-interest stories that took bloom during the pandemic? Stories about employees, departments or plant teams that took creative or innovative approaches to business during the height of Covid-19? It could be based on internal initiatives, ways of solving a customer challenge, or helping the local community.
5. HR Lessons Learned – If the pandemic drastically changed the way your employees worked and interacted with customers, what were the biggest takeaways from the experience? Did your company discover new tools or new protocols to utilize? Were there any old methods that no longer pass the test? Any company policy changes that turned out better than expected that might continue even once the pandemic is in the rearview mirror?
Media opportunities will continue to exist for automotive and mobility suppliers, and will likely increase as the COVID-19 news cycle diminishes in the months ahead. Thinking beyond the virus, and focusing on the new and emerging needs of reporters and your customers can help you to tap those opportunities … and help you to build your brand in the days ahead.
If you’d like to brainstorm some new media opportunities for the weeks ahead, so that your company can leapfrog your competitors in brand awareness in the post-pandemic period, call us or email email@example.com.