Examples of Crisis Communication that Brands Can Learn From

Shreyas Nair
by Shreyas Nair  |  21st Apr, 2020 in Branding

Fire, earthquake, or Tsunami, none can compare with the scale of the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – that caught even the best of marketing strategists unawares. But since necessity is the mother of invention, in recent weeks and days, we observed and have shortlisted a few good crisis communication strategy examples that emerge from this global fiasco.

While virtually every business suffered, some brands and industries reacted quickly with innovative crisis management solutions. The question is –

What did these brands do?

First and foremost, they reached out to their consumers. If the consumers are at home, they thought of novel ways and means of reaching out to them at their homes. Here are some great crisis communication examples from well-known brands that provide insight on why engaging with your consumer at this moment is so important.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has had a different impact on different industries (Check this chart), for better understanding of each industry’s survival tactic, we are segregating our shortlisted crisis communication examples industry-wise.

Bar Chart

Graph Source: https://lnkd.in/fSYpxsa

IT and ITES Industries

Since the pandemic’s impact is different for different services, for better understanding, we have segregated our illustrative examples industry-wise.

The first to advertise where video conferencing apps and remote meeting solution providers, such as Zoom, Skype, Slack and others.   Zoom went aggressive with its ‘freemium’ model and quickly began to gain active users in the first quarter of 2020. Even after the crisis is over, millions of people will become aware of Zoom and what they do, according to Bernstein, says a Marketwatch report. This brand recognition and the positive association will last a lifetime for Zoom and yield reward many years into the future.

Banks and Financial Service Providers


Have you noticed how many in-mails you must have received from banks, financial institutes and insurance services provides – all covered under the Essential Services Act – inviting you to open a DEMAT account and use their platform for trading in securities – when the market is crashed? It’s a build-up for the future.


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Fearful of massive disinvestments, A. Balasubramanian, MD & CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Ltd, sent out personalised emails saying, “Firstly, volatility is intrinsic to the market. You have known that. In my experience and with the benefit of historical data, we know that in moments of great crises like this one, a lot is done by Governments, Regulatory bodies and Central Banks to bring about a slew of measures to ameliorate initial difficulties and rebuild for the long term” as a desperate measure to re-built investor confidence.

He ends the note with a plaintive, “Therefore, stay invested. Moreover, understand the importance of asset allocation, create a right mix of equity and debt and use this as an opportunity to accumulate units at lower prices by investing consistently through SIPs.”

PNBMetlife came out with a term plan that does not directly mention COVID-19, but that’s what it is all about. Likewise Religare Healthcare has designed a Coronavirus Hospitalisation Insurance Plan. 

Recommended: Ideas to Improve Your Brand’s Communication Strategy

App-based rides

Before COVID-19, the two most popular app-based rides – Uber and Ola had completely swept the market and changed our commuting habits.  Post-crisis, they are still communicating but the sub text has changed. These are several such good crisis communication examples to take inspiration from.

Drivers Steps

Both brands are offering financial aid and hygiene protocol to drivers, while reassuring their customers that their cars are properly disinfected, hygienic, and safe to use.

Online Marketplaces

This is a sad story. Amazon, Flipkart, Gofers have completely disappeared from the market. They may still have stock but their supply chain lies in tatters. When you visit the Amazon store, you are politely informed that, “We continue to resume services gradually. We are first serving existing orders for essential products. We are currently not taking new orders.”  The store remains open and you are free to window shop or pile up your cart – but delivery is likely to be deferred.

Amazon Pantry

Entertainment industry

This online entertainment giant, Netflix is leveraging social media and to invites for select, on-demand shows during lockdown. Netflix launched a Netflix Party that enables synchronized feed and facilitates group chat, while viewers continue to maintain social distance – ‘virtual socializing’ as a wag would have dubbed it.

Celebrities – including BigB are doing free-of-cost gigs from home and releasing the videos on YouTube. One such channel is DeshGujaratHD

Recommended: What is psychographic branding? How to use it for your business?

Sportswear brands

Decathlon is promoting indoor sports through personalised emailers to keep its consumers engaged.

Decathlon Blog

Educational service providers

Nearly all of them, without exception have turned into e-learning solution providers.

“Schools need not get closed… Teaching must go on!” is the catchy subject line of one service provider.

Virtual Classroom

Undoubtedly, this is the time to think out of the box and keep all communication channels open, whatever industry your business may belong to. Inspired by some of these good crisis communication strategies, but not necessarily the best crisis communication examples, we are sure you can strategize a game plan that is unique to your industry.

Shreyas Nair

Director, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
I connect loose ends, I build bridges.
Walking on those bridges, relations are built. After that, the fear of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, no longer crosses my mind.
Was I meant to do what I am doing today? Umm…
I am a Computer Science Engineer and that taught me how to work with codes. I am glad that today I am working with People, instead and Oh! How I love the adrenaline it brings.

Ek hi client meeting mein perfect brief nikalvaana, is almost impossible I guess.
But I am trying, I am waiting.

I enjoy curating brand strategies and I am a fan of the process. This process, that involves trusting our people and telling them what I feel, as it is. Always.
I am curious.
Always was,
Still am, Always will be.
Helps me dive deep.

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