Digital crisis communication using the example of “Corona”

The current situation is new and unfamiliar. It came as a surprise. And now calls for quick action in order to emerge from the crisis stronger. For many companies, it is an endurance test: has economic activity been carried out in recent years? Do you act flexibly and can you turn the previous strategy through 360 °? Do you communicate neutrally, calmly and clearly even in times of crisis?

In this article I would like to talk about digital crisis communication using examples. Because if you optimize your content now and find the right wording, you can emerge from the crisis stronger and benefit from new organic rankings. A new focus needs to be found, with topics that are now relevant. But a rebound strategy should also not be missing to competently counter the rush after the crisis. Let’s start with current figures that show the changes in digital marketing.

Insights – Effects of Corona on Digital Marketing

The behavior of people has changed within a very short time. Because of the exit restrictions, we all spend more time at home. More time to deal with ourselves. Or how to spend your free time again after lifting the exit restrictions.

With this change, Internet use has also experienced an enormous boost – so strong that streaming providers had to slow down the speed so that every serial junkie can see the latest episodes of their favorite series. In the home office, too, the enormous use of the Internet via private households is noticeable. New websites are also visited, which may have remained undetected so far.

The increase in internet usage compared to the same time in 2019.

While the travel and event industry and the demand for leisure activities are rapidly declining, other non-system-relevant industries are showing a positive trend. News and finance topics are affected as well as the telecommunications industry. Remote meeting companies are also in massive demand in order to provide efficient support to company employees.

Sales increase from February 2020 to March 2020 by industry.

No matter which industry – good digital crisis communication is necessary to communicate the important information to everyone involved. With clear communication, possible uncertainty for employees, customers and service providers is counteracted.

Digital crisis communication needs a stable basis

A crisis comes unexpectedly – an emergency plan is all the more important. This plan includes the definition of responsibilities, the communication channels, the corporate wording for emergencies and a list of service providers who also need to be informed. If this plan does not exist, it must be demonstrated how agile and flexible you can actually act.

# 1: Target group definition and customized communication

When it comes to crisis communication, three target groups must be addressed: employees and colleagues, customers, service providers. A property that is relevant across all channels: One Voice. This is the bottom line, so that all target groups feel in good hands.

1. Internal communication with employees and colleagues

The new, unfamiliar situation brings changes. In order to reduce the uncertainty in the team and in the best case to avoid it, transparency and motivation create a solid basis. Motivating words help to promote engagement and initiative. Note: Crisis communication takes place across the entire company – not just the areas concerned.

2. External communication with customers

Customers and end users don’t want to stay in the balance. You would like to continue to be kept up to date on developments. Whether B2B or B2C companies – everyone can now show their best service side. The focus is on flexibility and agility! What information do end customers need right now? Are there products that are particularly in demand now, e.g. B. Homewear, workout equipment, building materials for renovation?

3. External communication with partners, suppliers, service providers

There must also be clear communication beyond one’s own company in order to provide all those involved with the necessary information. A list with all responsible persons of the partners and the provision of the attainable times is necessary.

# 2: The relevance of social media

Despite the home office, users spend (even more) time on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Co. must be provided with relevant content and are an important source of information for customers and end users. The consistency of crisis communication should also serve as the basis here.

Social media is an experience: create stories and take your followers on a journey. The information may be communicated openly, e.g. B. “Unfortunately we have no information about delivery times. We will keep you up to date as soon as we have news! ”. This openness creates proximity and has a positive effect on customer loyalty even after the Corona crisis.

# 3: Psychological effects of correct crisis communication

A global crisis like the Corona virus affects everyone – some more, some less. It is therefore all the more important that the shared information is meaningful and relevant. Here are some tips for a positive public image:

  • Framing : Show high numbers in a positive light. In 2019, 3,059 people died in traffic accidents in Germany. A high number, yes. However, this is the lowest level since the start of the statistics and is therefore somewhat more positive.
  • Prudence : Do not publish information prematurely. Research in detail and process the information in a structured manner. Lurid headlines and clickbait are out of place in digital crisis communication!
  • Reality : present the real situation – open, honest, transparent. Anyone who begins with untruths will still have to struggle after the crisis.
  • Meaningfulness : Choose information that is relevant for your target group!

Tips for evergreen content in crisis

In times of uncertainty, security and well-being are what make us look forward positively. Especially when, like now in Corona times, our whole life takes place in our own four walls and on walks. Above all, high-quality content should distract from the current situation. The following content may be possible:

  • Humor : Create fun content that people like to share – pictures, videos, memes etc.
  • Inspiration : Time at home shouldn’t be a waste. How can your customers use this time? Inspire them with decorating ideas or motivate them with cool home workouts.
  • Tips & Tricks : Get creative yourself and provide your customers with, for example, crafting tips against the boredom of children.
  • Information: Provide comprehensive information about the changes in your company / online shop. Can delivery times be met? Are there changed opening times?
  • Sale: Create product worlds from your range. What products do your customers need during this time?

And how can these points be implemented? Below you will get an overview of strong, digital crisis communication in order to maintain customer loyalty.

FAQs for extensive information

Digital crisis communication requires the provision of all the necessary information – at a glance. A FAQ page is an easy way to answer all questions. Find out from sales and service which questions are currently being asked again and again. The questions and answers can then also be prepared for social media. Note a uniform language across all channels. The caravan manufacturer Dethleffs has compiled the most important questions for its customers on a FAQ page .

The caravan manufacturer Dethleffs has integrated an extensive catalog of questions.

Show availability

The current time shows: Who was still available yesterday is often no longer today. If you are still open with your online shop or local shop and can guarantee the terms of delivery, this information should be visible on the website! Perhaps there are also new avenues for availability, for example free advice via video call as with OBI  or digital live demonstrations of the products for easier selection.

OBI offers a free video call for advice.

From offline to online

How can your products continue to be made available to customers? Gyms, yoga studios or creative workshops for handicrafts or painting take advantage of the opportunity and simply move their workshops online. In this way, creativity is also encouraged at home and everyone has a nice distraction from their home office and a different occupation than Netflix :). So that ArtNight fans can continue to paint, artist sets will be sent to the participants. So everyone can paint their artwork at home.

ArtNight offers digital events for your home.

Positive communication

Crises cannot be praised. But you can make the best of it. And that is exactly how it should be communicated with customers. EDEKA has produced a nice Easter spot for this, which conveys exactly this feeling. Even if something is different, it is still good.


Define new services

Agile action determines the crisis. Are there new services for which it is now time? Can new packages be put together from the existing range of services and adapted to the situation? Our Creation department has implemented exactly this and is now supporting the crisis with high-quality content and design .

Special creation services of the xpose360.

Create inspiration

What is most needed in times of home office? Comfortable clothes, equipment and mats for the home workout, cookbooks for delicious dinners etc. Which products are in your range that are needed especially now? Put them together to form a special topic and point out the possibilities at home. The clothing brand for organic clothing, LIVING CRAFTS, has put their comfortable garments together in a hub and motivates them to wear casual, high-quality clothing in their home office and home workout. With SEO-relevant content, organic rankings are generated that have a positive impact on the brand even after the crisis.

LIVING CRAFTS inspires high-quality organic fashion for the home.

Show the reality of the new work environment

Every company and every employee has to get used to the new situation. Let your customers participate – at the ups and downs in the employees’ home office and give a little look behind the scenes. These real insights create proximity and transparency. We ourselves recorded the “typical” home office of the xpose360 and shared it with our customers.

The home offices of the xpose360.

Adjustment of the claim

It’s not just about adapting communication in blog articles, newsletters and the like. Fundamental changes also demonstrate adaptability and empathy towards the customer. Schöffel, for example, has his claim of I’m out. to  I stay in it. changed.

Schöffel motivates its customers with a new claim.

Evergreen content with current relevance

New “crisis content” must not only be up-to-date in the crisis, but also afterwards. Since the SEO focus should always be taken into account when choosing a topic, you can benefit from the organic rankings that emerged after the crisis.

The premium outdoor clothing manufacturer Schöffel has seized this opportunity and continues to publish outdoor topics. However, these have received a new focus and give tips for micro-adventures on your own doorstep – in the example: a night hike .

Schöffel creates evergreen content and inspires micro-adventures.

Tips & tricks against boredom

Anyone who sits at home all the time quickly gets bored. ALDI declares war on boredom and has defined a thematic hub that includes , among other things, instructions for making a bird house . All that is needed is an empty milk pack, glue and paints for coloring.

Tips from ALDI against boredom at home.

Get out of the crisis with a competitive advantage

If strong digital crisis communication is guaranteed, everyone can emerge from the crisis stronger. The opportunities and tips mentioned for successful crisis communication are relevant for everyone – B2B as well as B2C companies.

Important : The terms “Corona” and “COVID-19” are currently classified by Google as “sensitive”. In terms of communication, these terms should therefore be better described or only mentioned if necessary.

TL; DR – digital crisis communication

You prove with efficient crisis communication

  • how agile and flexible you deal with such situations.
  • how you can approach your target groups with small changes in wording and in the campaigns in an empathetic and approachable way.
  • your authenticity as a brand and remain true to your philosophy.
  • your adaptability and show that you are always at your customers’ side.


Leave a Comment