2L Fashion & Beauty

How a crisis communications playbook helped a fashion retailer weather a pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t just bring about a health crisis, but a global economic and business crisis, too. One of the worst hit industries was retail. Fashion retailer, 2L Fashion & Beauty wanted to take action quickly to map out a robust plan of action that would help the company weather the storm.

The Brief

With Malaysia under lockdown and the company unable to operate its physical retail stores, 2L invited PEMANDU Associates, Syarikat Ong and COMMUNICATE to help them run a crisis management workshop. The intended outcome was to develop a detailed crisis recovery action plan to preserve cash, identify new sources of revenue online and communicate this change effectively to both its staff and customers. All in only 2 weeks!

Our Approach

Overcommunication.

Managing change is no easy feat. Especially when coupled with news of businesses worldwide either shutting down or downsizing.

The main communications strategy was simple but necessary: to overcommunicate.

This meant planning out and developing frequent circulars from the CEO to her staff – updating them on every step of the 2-week workshop process.

In doing so, we helped create an environment of transparency within a company of over 500 staff, and a sense of assurance that all decisions would be made in the best interest of both the staff and company.

Communicating robust plans with clarity and empathy.

After a grueling workshop between PEMANDU Associates’ consulting team, Syarikat Ong, 2L’s management and COMMUNICATE, a granular action plan was developed – one that achieved the seemingly impossible of minimal outlet closures, while carving out the financial leeway to invest in enhancing their digital marketing and online sales platforms.

The 12 initiatives to set this in motion were sound, but the next challenge was to communicate these plans with clarity and empathy.

To do this, we helped to storytell all the initiatives through a comprehensive presentation, to be shared over a company-wide Zoom townhall, to over 500 staff.

Ensuring no elephants in the room.

To mitigate any potential avenues for miscommunication, we developed an extensive playbook for the CEO to chair the townhall.

The playbook included precise talking points for her to present the action plan as well as an extensive FAQ list to help her anticipate over 50 of the toughest questions that may come her way.

Navigating a crisis does require a degree of directive leadership to instill confidence among employees. However, clear direction should never come at the cost of empathy. To tread this fine line, we wanted the townhall to be an interactive platform for the staff to contribute their ideas, suggestions and questions on the action plan presented. We did so by carving out space for a dialogue between the staff and CEO – this was also a chance for the CEO to be candid with her staff about what she did not know.

What resulted was a townhall that inspired rather than angered. Informed rather than confused.

Outcome

Developed a
communications playbook for

12 initiatives

Delivered through a heartfelt
virtual townhall to

500 staff

All in only

2 weeks