Providing media value in the age of COVID-19

September 24, 2020

Teppei Tani
Dentsu Public Relation
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As detailed in previous installments of our series on the PR implications of COVID-19, the pandemic has dramatically transformed how companies operate, conduct PR, and interact with the media. Corporate communications teams are now looking for ways to keep the media engaged during the new normal. In this article, we will take a look at areas of media interest in the age of COVID-19 and some of the ways in which companies in Japan have been leveraging their strengths to deliver socially innovative messaging.

How the media are adapting to the new normal 

Japan’s media organizations were no exception to the shift to working from home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and many outlets now split their workforces into on-site and remote teams.

Online media were quick to switch over to gathering material remotely, publishing houses postponed issue dates, and TV stations started to refrain from filming on location or set.

Even content that TV stations did continue to produce was subject to various precautions. In news and current affairs programs, it became the norm for presenters to observe social distancing measures on screen, and for guests to attend remotely. We even saw the emergence of dramas produced from home.

Keeping the media engaged: socially innovative corporate messaging 

To find out more about the kind of information that Japan’s broadcasting and media professionals prefer to work with against the backdrop of this new normal, we spoke to some of our media contacts:

(TV newsroom) “While we realize that many corporate activities have been postponed or cancelled, we do want companies to keep providing us with information. We’re still interested in content that isn’t necessarily related to COVID-19.”

(Newspaper, online edition) “When companies provide us with information, we want them to think about what will benefit the public or how companies can contribute under the current circumstances. Now that fewer corporate press releases are coming in, we’ve been running low on stories.”

With heightened media interest in how companies’ activities can contribute to society at large, many companies have been crafting corporate narratives by leveraging their strengths and assets to help overcome some of the social challenges faced during these unprecedented circumstances.

Let’s take a look at some key examples:

    • Supporting essential workers and medical staff
      Communities around the world have been looking for ways to support and give back to those working on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. In Japan, companies have stepped up to the plate by producing protective masks, providing dedicated vehicles for transporting patients, establishing support funds, and organizing events to raise awareness and express gratitude. Some organizations have offered direct support to patients themselves by sending food supplies to accommodation facilities earmarked for individuals who have contracted the disease.
    • Healthcare and social distancing awareness
      Businesses have also been at the forefront of efforts to promote social distancing measures during the pandemic, with some running branded awareness-raising initiatives or releasing congestion maps. Other firms have helped the public look after their health by providing free 24-hour medical consultation apps and supporting sports- and exercise-based initiatives.
    • Education and childcare
      Following nationwide school closures in late February, some companies in Japan have helped children keep up with their schoolwork by releasing free study drills, uploading educational videos, and helping students keep up a regular daily routine while taking online classes. One business helped ease parents’ anxieties by providing free devices to monitor their children’s activities.
    • Remote work and recruitment
      Even the most traditional Japanese corporations have found themselves having to expand work-from-home policies and adapt to the new normal in their recruiting and employment. Some businesses have been helping workers around Japan adjust to a sudden change in work environment by offering free background images to use on video conferencing apps, and releasing takeout and delivery search engines. Others supported corporate recruitment efforts by providing free online interview platforms, or made a direct social contribution through their own hiring, with recruitment drives targeted at job seekers who had had job offers rescinded. Yet more have been giving peace of mind to part-time workers during these uncertain times by providing wage compensation.

As the long-term ramifications of the pandemic become more apparent, these approaches continue to evolve. And as part of our efforts to provide clients with the best possible communications support, we are continuing to monitor and adapt to this fast-changing backdrop.

 

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About the author

 

Teppei Tani
Dentsu Public Relations
Executive Director, Information Design Division
Joined Dentsu PR in 2006 from Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. Worked in PR direction, issue management, and business development before joining the Information Design Division, which specializes in planning and PESO media promotion, in 2019. Has worked on numerous award-winning campaigns, including PR Awards Asia-Pacific (Campaign of the Year, Public Affairs category, BtoB category), and the IPRA Golden World Awards (BtoB category).

 

This article was adapted from original Japanese content published by Dentsu-Ho, May 25, 2020 (view original article)

Banner image by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
Teppei Tani profile picture ©️Getty Images

 

 

 


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