If Coronavirus is hurting your business now is the time to boost your communications with media training
June 8, 2020

Here’s a funny thing.  Given that they’ve suffered particularly badly from the economic damage wrought by coronavirus over the last few months you would think that health clubs, restaurants and fashion retailers would be doing less media training than usual.  But, as experienced media trainers for these sectors, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of workshops that we’re doing here.

We’ve been providing media training courses for health clubs, restaurants chains, hotel groups and fashion retailers for more than 20 years.  Over recent weeks we’ve been receiving a lot more asking us to work with their PR agencies and comms teams to prepare them for media interviews.  Why is this? you might wonder.  The fact is that many are aware that during difficult times they need to get their marketing, branding and messages across to their target audiences more effectively than when things are going well.

Over the next few weeks we’ll see gyms and health clubs opening their doors for the first time in months, and that’s why we’re training many of their spokespeople, all the way from CEOs to club managers, through to staff and personal trainers to do interviews with the media – press, radio, online and TV.  They want to talk to both their existing and their new members about how they’re preparing their clubs to be safe and inviting when they open again.

We’re training the managers of gyms to talk about the overall approach that they’re taking to cleaning and social distancing.  But we’re also helping more junior staff and people such as personal trainers to do media interviews as they’re the people that gym and health club members will be engaging with on a day-to-day basis when they get back to working out.  For this reason they’re also very often the people that the media will want to talk to.

We’re helping forward thinking gyms and health club chains to identify the examples, case studies and anecdotes that they need to back up the reassuring points about cleanliness and social distancing procedures that they want people to take on board.  You can claim that you’re going to keep your members safe but you need to introduce examples and proof points to back up that claim.  We’re also helping gyms to handle difficult questions and to develop and test their messages to deal with the understandable anxieties that their members might have.

It’s the same story with restaurants.  We recently trained the CEO of a casual dining group so that they’d be ready to do an interview on the Today programme and with business journalists in the print media.  The group wanted to reassure customers but also to speak to their investors and suppliers.  There are so many key audiences during this difficult time that organisations need to communicate with – to offer reassurance and to demonstrate that they’re taking action and being proactive.

We’ve been working with hotel groups and travel operators a lot recently, as well.  With so much confusion around safe practice and such little certainty around policy travel companies are realising that there are opportunities for them to sound confident, authoritative but also caring.  One of our clients did a round of interviews following reports about Greece opening up to tourists, for instance.  They had the opportunity to talk about what exciting but responsible plans they had for their customers over the next year or so.  We also helped them to deal with potentially risky questions about government policy.

We’ve worked, too, with investors such as private equity (PE) houses alongside the management team of the health clubs, restaurant chains, fashion brands and travel companies that they’ve invested in.  PE houses with “dry powder” looking for opportunities know that interest in new deals and disposals will certainly increase as lockdown ends and the economy slowly picks up.

We’re also doing more brief, intensive virtual media training courses to help comms teams and the clients of PR agencies to develop and test messages.  During a 90 minutes session via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or WebEx we can provide spokespeople from health clubs, restaurants, hotels and fashion retailers among others, to distil important messages, test them to see how they land and then identify the great examples and stories that can be used to illustrate and back them up.

The media is looking for authoritative voices with experience of their markets and a clear message to provide thought leadership and insights during these unprecedented times.  We’re finding that a growing number of comms teams and PR agencies are seeing this crisis as an opportunity to provide those insights and that advice.  Our thought leadership courses are proving to be particularly popular at the moment.  Like most of our other courses, they work very well in a short virtual media training session.

As an agile, niche agency where, unlike the big agencies with their sales teams, the person you speak to about your course is the one who delivers it, we’re particularly well placed to provide these media training sessions.

Companies and sectors that have been most severely impacted by coronavirus will be looking for competitive advantage.  The media, both conventional and social, provide an essential means of explaining why consumers should come to them and spend their money rather than anyone else.

We help comms teams, PR agencies and marketing departments to explain the unique selling points of their companies and to promote brands.  PR agencies and comms teams are convincing their boards or their clients that during difficult times it’s more important than ever to invest in effective communications.  During this time of crisis for so many businesses, having a strong, distinct voice, telling great stories and maintaining open communication with all your audiences – customers, employees and suppliers – is more essential than ever.

Chat to Communicate Media

If you or your company require professional advice or media training, get in touch by giving us a call on 0800 1777080 or emailing us or to find out more about our media training, crisis communications and presentation courses.

Related Articles

Business Writing Training for Paralegals

Business Writing Training for Paralegals

As specialists in media training for law firms, we help partners and other spokespeople to do media interviews in a way that raises the profile of the firm and positions partners as experts in their field. Why should lawyers engage with the media? Well, the most...