Most B2B manufacturers in heavy industry never closed. They are essential. Still, shifts changed, offices adjusted and teams worked from home. Some protective measures were taken for people on the manufacturing floor in order to keep the daily work flowing. But whatever we think we’ve done to adjust, the approaching new ordinary carries fear and uncertainty.

Long sales cycles mean that the COVID-19 effect hasn’t yet fully resonated within our B2B industries. The lag could seem like insulation, tempting businesses to ignore the need and opportunity we have in these weeks to prepare ourselves and our clients, and to introduce our solutions to new audiences.  Missing this window will mean a bigger dip and much slower recovery for all when the second wave of COVID-19 comes in the fall, as most health experts now expect.

Returning to full production now presents challenges to three primary communications targets:

  1. Employees need certainty that management has their safety as a top priority as business ramps up. Life and health are as important as market share.
  2. Customers need reassurance that the supply chain is reliable. Management staff working from home have more time to research while making plans for re-opening their own businesses.
  3. Management…are you communicating your pivot? The general public, mainstream media and your customers all want to know… and so do new customers. Tell your story to new audiences.

Communications goals and targets are changing at record speeds. Fear is a reaction to uncertainty. Communicate your guidelines so everyone knows the expectations. Use reliable sources and quote accurate scientific information. Remember to demonstrate consistency through planning and training.