akkanto’s services during COVID-19

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts your business, your stakeholders expect you to continue communicating. Not least your employees, suppliers and contractors. And while the lockdown may seem challenging, more challenges lay ahead once it comes to an end. It’s probably not going to be business as usual.

You may need to reorganise your activities and to up your public affairs and financial communication game to get back on track.

akkanto is a Brussels-based strategic communication agency with a focus on the Belgian market. We are 30 seasoned professionals who have deep expertise in media, politics, and corporate and internal communications. We understand the importance of flexibility — and we’re available 7 days a week in case of crisis to offer you the expertise, advice and flawless implementation support for what lays ahead.

If you’re using the lockdown to sharpen personal communication skills in these critical disciplines, you can also count on our extensive and remote training offering.

Please contact us for a tailor-made offer that’s adapted to your needs.


1.    Crisis management

This is a global crisis where no single organization is responsible for all of its possible consequences. Nevertheless, every single one of your stakeholders expects you to take the necessary measures to handle this extraordinary situation in the best way possible. To do this, you need a coherent action plan with a unified approach to command, communication and execution. Fail in one of these three pillars and your crisis management risks becoming badly impaired. Communication in times of crisis needs to be empathic, open and transparent, fast and as precise and clear as possible.

Now is the time to reflect on the procedures you already have and to assess if these are sufficient or could be improved. It’s also the time to check if your teams are fully trained to handle complicated situations quickly and in a coherent and coordinated way.

akkanto has extensive experience in accompanying and counselling companies and organizations facing crises.

We can be a vital support in helping set up the most appropriate crisis communications strategy; handling relations with internal and external stakeholders; formulating action plans; executing those plans with tailored communication tools; and analysing the results.

crisis communication©

For more information
Julien Radart, Partner – 0486 50 97 02 – julien.radart@akkanto.com


2.    Internal communication and labour relations

Now that health and sanitary measures are in place, and the other practicalities have been dealt with, it’s time to take a step back and measure the impact of your efforts.

Is the content of your communications in line with the expectations of your employees? Should you be more empathetic or more factual? How efficient are the communication channels you use? What about the spirit in your team? Are they afraid for their future?

It’s important to get a good sense of your employees’ opinions to be able to adjust or adapt your communication. It will bring you closer to them and show you care. We’ll help you set up the appropriate surveys, analyse the results, and we’ll recommend specific actions.

In times like these it’s also very important to keep your teams engaged and motivated. Keeping your core organizational values in sight is critical. The crisis is an opportunity to show those values are a vital part of your organizational DNA — both in good times and bad. We have deep experience in formulating campaigns, with a special focus on hearts and minds, to help strengthen team spirit.

The crisis will have an unprecedented impact on many businesses. It will force some to reorganise activities and some will need to let people go. These kinds of restructurings need proper preparation both from a legal and human point of view. akkanto can help you in planning and implementing the reorganisation and its many internal and external communications challenges. In such times, we can be a vital support in safeguarding a company’s reputation and maintaining business continuity.

internal communication©

For more information on internal communication
Isabel Casteleyn, Associate Partner –0476 94 13 37 – isabel.casteleyn@akkanto.com

For more information on reorganisations
Bjorn Andries, Partner – 0486 51 18 42 – bjorn.andries@akkanto.com


3.    Reputation management and corporate communication

The COVID-19 crisis and the abrupt shutdown of the economy is going to have a lasting impact on company and stakeholder relations. Your reputation will be a major asset in your recovery strategy. Can you rely on the efforts of previous years to keep the trust of your stakeholders? Can you be sure that your stakeholders trust you’ll respond in the most appropriate way to today’s challenges? The time to prepare for the recovery is now.

akkanto can help you measure your reputation, identify the levers for improvement, and propose specific actions that impact your stakeholders. Such actions include leveraging the support of customers who are satisfied with your products and services; customers who recommend you to others; candidates who want to come and work for you; and investors who trust you.

Raising media attention around your company’s activities is another way to enhance reputation. We help to prepare you to tell the stories your stakeholders will need to hear once attention shifts from the immediate focus of quelling the pandemic.

reputation© For more information on reputation management
Walter Gelens, Senior Advisor – 0472 50 50 05– walter.gelens@akkanto.com

For more information on corporate communication
Carl Buyck, Partner  – 0476 47 69 22 – carl.buyck@akkanto.com


4.    Public Affairs

Political stakeholders still are largely focused on day-to-day management of the COVID-19 crisis — but they also are preparing economic and budget recovery plans to get the economy back on track.

It’s important to fine tune your broad policy goals to ensure these feature on the policy agendas of authorities, institutions and governments once the acute phase of the pandemic passes. Now is the time to prepare your demands, frame them in the right way, and use the most effective channels to ensure your demands resonate and are taken into consideration.

akkanto’s consultants, with plentiful and deep experience in Belgian politics and public affairs, will help you to maximise your impact.

For more information
Bjorn Andries, Partner – 0486 51 18 42 – bjorn.andries@akkanto.com


5.    Financial communication

COVID-19 raises many questions for investors.

Many investors are looking at how the global pandemic affects business operations; what companies are doing to protect employees and suppliers; the scope and cost of recovery plans; and whether companies have enough liquidity to withstand the slowdown.

Volatile markets can make it even more urgent to identify your financial stakeholders and provide them with clear and concrete answers. Communications significantly influences the decisions of investors and shareholders — and no organization wants to jeopardize the critical support they can provide during the pandemic recovery phase.

Now is the time to review your strategic positioning and consider the transactions that will be necessary after this crisis. We can help you to review and reinforce how investors think about the purpose of your business as well as shape your company’s story to enhance trust.

financial communication©
For more information
Thierry Bouckaert, Managing Partner – 0475 22 22 00 – thierry.bouckaert@akkanto.com