As expected, the COVID 19 emergency continues to dominate news headlines globally. Today, the number of virus cases has surpassed the grim milestone of one million. So, here are the insights we have collected over the past 24 hours to share with you.

International news

  • Pressure on start-ups
    • As ‘Path to Profitability’ takes over ‘Growth at all Costs’, Sequoia Capital has noted that fear of missing out has been giving way to fear of looking stupid, as many unicorn’s ropy business models come unstuck. Read The Economist article here. (Subscriber access)
  • Betting against companies likely to be hurt pays off
    • San Francisco hedge fund Valiant Capital Management homed in early on businesses most likely to be impacted by a global virus, posting gains on bets placed against cruise lines, airlines and travel companies in February. Read here in the WSJ. (Subscriber access)
  • As you can tell, we appreciate the power of a cartoon at Cannings. The Economist takes a deeper look into cartoons during a public health crisis, highlighting how depictions of the virus have evolved over the last few weeks. (Subscriber access)

Australian company news 

  • Leaders need to ensure the wellbeing of customers and employees first and foremost
    • How leaders act, and communicate, during this time is crucial and new research shows that Australians want assertive, optimistic and charismatic businesses leaders who prioritise the wellbeing of their customers and employees. Read The AFR article. (Subscriber access)
  • Spotlight on mental health as employees look for support tools
    • According to the Australian HR Institute, while employers have the right intentions to help staff at this time, many employees are finding it difficult to find resources to support them. A survey shows that more than 90% of workers are anxious about the economic downturn and four in five are worried about catching or spreading coronavirus. Read more in The AFR here. (Subscriber access)
  • Predictions for a post coronavirus world: deeper relationships, less paper and more flexibility
    • Law firm Barolsky Advisors shares some predictions for legal firms in a post-coronavirus world, that could be applied across the board: deeper relationships will come from enduring acute stress together, less paper will be used as people acclimatise to a digital world and more flexibility will be extended and become the rule, not the exception. Read in The AFR here. (Subscriber access)
  • Could a return to manufacturing help rebuild our economy?
    • Nev Power, the leader of an expert advisory commission to the Australian federal government, is bullish on the nation’s manufacturing sector however deems “it needs to be modern, efficient, high-tech and focused on the things we need.” Read The AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • Actions that companies take today, will impact long-term reputations
    • Many companies are giving customers temporary reprieve or special deals during this difficult time. After telling the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday that it would press ahead with its scheduled toll-road fee increase on 1 April, Transurban is facing mounting criticism. The NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance told The Australian that motorists “won’t forgive or forget this decision”. The NewsCorp columnist Terry McCrann has lambasted Transurban’s “two-fingered salute to all 25 million Australians”. Read his column in The Herald Sun here. (Subscriber access)

Australian markets 

  • Dividends remain a matter of contention
    • APRA has said it can’t force banks to suspend their dividends but is in discussions to understand their financial capacity for payouts following the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s announcement yesterday ordering its banks to cancel dividends. Read more in The AFR. (Subscriber access)
    • An analyst has said the message sent by policymakers and the community to corporate Australia is clear “Do your bit” and sacrifice dividends to carry businesses through the crisis. Meanwhile CBA CEO said Australia’s banks are better placed than offshore peers, and that suspending dividends directly would be a problem. Read more here in The Australian. (Subscriber access)

Our daily briefing is not meant to be a summary of media coverage but rather, insights that may be helpful in understanding how organisations are communicating with stakeholders in a time of crisis – and what comes next. Sign up via email