Kendal Honored for Handling of COVID-19 Communications

Dec. 8, 2020—The Philadelphia-area chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has recognized Kendal and its public relations consultants for establishing “a unified, consistent, yet customized communications approach” in addressing the individual communication needs of its affiliates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kendal’s joint award entry with its consultants, AKCG Public Relations Counselors, won first-place honors in the Reputation & Brand Management category at PRSA Philadelphia’s 52nd annual Pepperpot Awards ceremony Dec. 7. The Pepperpot Awards recognize the most outstanding public relations campaigns and strategies submitted by organizations across the Greater Philadelphia area.

Consistent with Kendal’s commitment to transparency, maintaining open lines of communication with residents, family members and staff was the overarching goal—especially in responding to major COVID-related developments. Kendal marketing staff and AKCG also worked together to help affiliates decide how and when to report COVID-19 cases and how to reinforce them with messages of comfort, compassion and security when communicating to key audiences.

“Throughout the pandemic, Kendal Corp., AKCG and a variety of Kendal affiliates worked closely and collaboratively to protect the reputation of the Kendal brand and preserve the trust it and its affiliates had cultivated with key stakeholders,” AKCG noted in the award entry submission. “We accomplished this by establishing a consistent and unified approach to effectively identify, navigate and communicate pivotal and, sometimes grim, milestones at the outset of the pandemic (such as a first confirmed COVID-19 case, first death and major operational disruptions).”

As the virus spread across the country, affiliates reached these milestones at staggered points in time, sometimes weeks or even months apart from one another. For each milestone at each affiliate, AKCG and Kendal marketing staff worked to draft and refine direct communications to residents, their families, staff and prospective residents, as needed, to match each affiliate’s specific needs. Each affiliate also was encouraged to keep a chronological log on its website of all issued communications to maintain consistency of messaging to internal stakeholders and to news media.

The PRSA Philadelphia Awards were dubbed “Pepperpots” In 1968 by Bill Parker, then chapter president and head of Campbell’s Soup communication department, as a play on the “catch-all” Philadelphia pepper-pot soup to represent the effort and variety of ingredients PR professionals put into their campaigns.