Fortunately, the lethality of this pandemic is not as pronounced as avian flu, which, in 2006 was the pandemic for which all began to prepare – including businesses. However, it is still uncertain how virulent or lethal this virus might become in the future. But it does serve as a reminder that pandemic planning in 2006 involved communications as it existed then and those old communications plans from three years ago, need to be dusted off.
A primary pillar of public health defense in a time of pandemic is “social distancing.” Communications tools that exist today that didn’t then are Yammr, Twitter, Wikis, and a host of other new media that allow heightened communications among closed groups. There is also a need to ensure that employees are using RSS Feeds and have set up aggregators to pull in news as it happens from select sources. Facebook’s new “vanity URL” offering makes it an excellent time to set up a Facebook brand or product-specific page that will allow a company to keep in close contact with loyal customers. This is a pandemic of firsts.
Mark Senak, SVP, Fleishman-Hillard, and author of the Eye on FDA blog.