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John Higginson featured in PR Week

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Today on PR Week Higginson Strategy’s John Higginson provided his five tips for comms professionals to support their organisation when working from home.

Read the full feature here: Plan, ask questions and switch focus: five good ways for comms professionals to work from home

It is not enough to say nothing. Businesses have to say what they are doing and strike a balance between reassuring customers and staff of their capacity for ‘business as usual’ while showing what they are doing to meet the challenge of these extraordinary times.

In 1969 the Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published On Death and Dying, a book that shone a light on how humans process bereavement. In the book she discussed, for the first time, the five stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance.

In the first few weeks after the novel coronavirus hit China, we were in the first stage: denial.

COVID-19 was something that was happening far away.

Memes did the rounds on social media making jokes about panic-buying toilet rolls.

We have now moved into the second stage: blame and anger.

On Saturday, a Chinese official told a Bloomberg journalist that the US Army is behind the coronavirus.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood was quick to fire back that China sat on the outbreak for three weeks, and that Wuhan is the home to the Chinese Army’s principal bio-weapons research facility.

Yesterday, in Britain’s most read newspaper Metro (full disclosure: I was Political Editor of Metro for seven years), the headline was ‘Greed of Shoppers’, over an image of empty shelves.

People are looking very closely at the way businesses react as well. A company that has raised the prices of hand sanitisers has become a pariah on social media.

Businesses that appear to be trying to ‘cash in’ on the crisis, or appear tone-deaf, are being called out.

We are a long way from the final stage of grief, but those who plan well for the short term while thinking for the long term will be best-placed to support their customers now, and keep them in the future.

Read the full article here.