A 0.5 per cent interest rate rise. Is that a good or bad thing? Would we know unless we rely on others to interpret it? Today there has been a lot of analysis about the Bank of England’s decision and I am sure most people will look for the headlines to decide what it means for them. Alternatively, they may be struggling so much already that they fatalistically accept any change will mean more problems.
The headline that the UK will be in recession by the end of the year will be the one thing that people do understand. It will raise fears and anxiety. This fear will be exacerbated when people feel they have no options left to try and manage the cost of living increases. After the food bills have been cut, the heating has been turned down or switched off, the transport bills have been slashed what more can people do? Many people are attempting to hold down multiple jobs just to keep their heads above water.
What does this mean for those working in communication? What does it mean for businesses and how they operate?
We need to start planning now for the potentially challenging situation ahead. This means reviewing business processes, identifying operational issues that may need to be addressed and rooting out any areas of reputational concern. At the same time communicators need to be extra sensitive to the difficulties in the world. It is a delicate balance of promoting the business but doing it in the right way for a country in crisis with a recession looming.
The risks if we don’t do this are tone deaf communication activities and campaigns that lead us into a reputational crisis. We can do much better if we just take some time to consider the situation and reassess what we are doing. I am predicting in the months that lie ahead there will be a whole host of organisations that are forced to apologise because they haven’t made any changes. There will be more CEOs of Wessex Water who are criticised when their personal actions and behaviours don’t match what they recommend for others. For anyone that has missed the story. There was criticism that the CEO had a swimming pool while the company was warning against non-essential use of the water supplies.
2022 is testing our resilience and our ability to respond to further challenging situations. We are still dealing with the impact of Covid-19, are now tackling Monkeypox, have war in Europe, are seeing food, fuel and heating prices soar, and now are heading to recession. The enlightened employers will also recognise the impact all this is having on their staff and will look at how to provide support. The headlines today will raise fears and concerns so it is time to act.