COVID-19 Economic Impact on the Printing Industry
What does all this mean for our industry? SGIA/NAPCO COVID-19 Print Business Conditions Indicator Research, to be launched the week of April 12, will tell us. Results will be presented by segment (graphic and sign production, commercial printing, apparel decoration, etc.) and include percent change in sales, an index of coincident business indicators, and an index of leading business indicators. Come to https://www.sgia.org/resources/covid-19-test for bi-weekly updates on the research results.
And keep coming back for direction on how to protect your company from the pandemic and prepare for the upturn that will follow. After all, there’s plenty we can do beyond waiting for stimulus to kick in.
Updated April 1, 2020 @ 11:30 AM
Effective Crisis Communication
Let’s not depend on federal stimulus and aid to make things right. Let’s move aggressively to protect our companies. In “Loans and Layoffs” we talked about how we can minimize layoffs, and so qualify for loan forgiveness under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This time let’s discuss effective crisis communication.
And let’s begin with our employees, because nothing matters more than keeping them informed and safe. Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang, and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, authors of “Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis,” Harvard Business Review, recommend the following:
- Create an information hub. The authors warn, “don’t assume information creates ‘informedness.’” Employees have access to plenty of information about the virus, but much of it is not particularly helpful or accurate. So create an information hub that includes the most recent federal, state, and local health guidelines; what the company is doing in response to the crisis and why; the aid Washington is providing, how the company will access the aid, and how it will help; state and local sources of support on which employees can draw, etc. The many benefits of the hub include getting the facts out “so time is not wasted clearing up misconceptions.”
- Don’t be afraid to change the message. We worry that frequently changing the message makes us look indecisive and ill-informed. But with so much change and uncertainty, we need to regularly update strategies and tactics. Reinforce that guidance is based on the best information available to date, will be updated as circumstances change, and all updates will be shared with employees.
- Be specific. Take on the tough questions: How is COVID-19 affecting the company? What is the company doing about it? What are management’s priorities? How will the priorities be achieved? But don’t waste time with generalities that leave employees guessing or drawing their own conclusions. Instead, answer as specifically as possible, reinforcing that the answers are based on what we know today and will change as conditions do.
Communication with clients (and prospects) should show you are open, active, and ready to help, according to “How to Protect Your Small Business’s Bottom Line From Coronavirus,” www.insureon.com. Use the company website, social media, email, telephone, and all other communication channels to get that message across. Describe how you are reducing risk, protecting your employees and their families, and contributing to your community.
Andrew D. Paparozzi joined PRINTING United Alliance as Chief Economist in 2018. He analyzes and reports on economic, technological, social and demographic trends that will define the printing industry’s future. His most important responsibility, however, is being an observer of the industry by listening to the issues and concerns of company owners, executives and managers.
Previously, he worked 31 years at the National Association for Printing Leadership. He has also taught mathematics, statistics and economics at various colleges.
Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics f rom Boston College and a Master’s degree in economics — with concentrations in econometrics and public finance — from Columbia University.