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Crisis Communication: Inspiring Examples From Eleven Brands


When a crisis occurs you realize what is the real value you bring to your customers. In these uncertain times we are all facing, the brand’s mission is to help, be useful and show compassion.

Companies from all over the world have been hit hard. They are dealing every day with the challenging situation named Covid-19. The only way to rise from the ashes is to adapt.

How brands adjust their communication in this time of crisis? They rethink their marketing strategies and modify the messages they spread.

Brands had to stop their ongoing campaigns because they didn’t fit into the pandemic context the world is fighting against:

  • KFC suspended their “finger lickin’ good” campaign because it doesn’t align with the current safety-first principle.
  • The insurance company Geico stopped the “Perfect High-five” commercial because it leaves the impression the company neglects the importance of social distancing.

For brands, it’s more necessary than ever to listen to their customers. The Edelman trust barometer survey conveyed between March 23th – March 26th, 2020, showed consumers want brands to be compassionate and help society in this situation. According to the answers brands should:

  • Protect their employees at all costs.
  • Produce safety products that can stop spreading the virus.
  • Serve their customers as reliable sources of information.
  • Communicate how they are helping.
  • Use humor carefully.

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Since the situation is quite delicate the worst course of action you can commit is to offend your customers. According to the quoted trust barometer, the brand’s response to the pandemic already influences people’s decisions on purchasing goods.

Let’s review eleven inspiring examples of crisis communication where brands respond with empathy and kindness to the global difficulties.

Nike Strikes With a Powerful Message

Nike comes up with strong insight encouraging people to stay at home because this way they will achieve their dreams – to play for millions.

#Playfortheworld campaign completely changes the meaning of playing sports in a conventional way. Staying at home and keep practicing is actually the way people play together as a team against the Covid-19 spread.

Travel Companies and Museums Offer Virtual Tours

Who would believe months ago there are going to be times when people won’t be able to travel? For the last decades traveling became something normal, easy and more accessible.

This is still possible, you just don’t have to book tickets nor accommodation. Thanks to the online activities launched by travel companies, you can visit the world without moving from your couch.

It’s not the same, but you can still learn new things, soak up into new cultures and try out new things:

  • Viator provided several online experiences from cooking classes, to live stream walking tours, online concerts, quizzes, safari tours, etc.
  • Airbnb also made sure travelers won’t be bored and offered online adventures like creative drawing, families experiences, online cooking, meetings and workouts with different trainers, close to nature tours

Tripadvisor has a different approach. The company put its efforts toward helping the travel industry by giving $1 million to support companies in communities around the world that have been most impacted by the Coronavirus.

They made easy the purchasing of gift cards and supporting delivery services from local restaurants.

Museums are offering now free virtual tours. Now it’s possible to visit one of the most prestigious museums in the world. Among them are:

If you are a fan of theme parks, but you never get the chance to go, Disney and Legoland Florida will make your dreams come true with their online tours and virtual rides.

Coca-Cola Donates Its Social Media Feeds

Coca-cola decided to “donate” their social media feeds and post news related to Covid-19 in order to keep its customers informed.

Coca-Cola DoAnates Its Social Media Feeds

If you scroll through their Twitter you can see their whole feed is dedicated to positive and inspiring news. With all the negative messages around, Coca-cola’s Twitter is like a small ray of hope and place where you can hear about something positive.

Slack Helps Teams Without Experience in Remote-Working

A huge amount of companies are struggling now because they don’t have experience with remote-working. The company addressed those points by encouraging their followers to ask questions about how to work from home efficiently.

Slack Helps Teams Without Experience in Remote-Working

The company is offering a free plan for non-profit organizations, researchers and medical communities that are fighting on the front lines.

Slack Helps Teams Without Experience in Remote-Working 2

Toilet Paper Brand Cottonelle Addressed Customer Concerns

At the onset of the outbreak, people were panic buying and stocking up toilet paper. Cottonelle responded to customers concerns with a campaign appealing to consumers to stop this.

The brand initiated a charity campaign called “Share a square” with a message for people to not worry about it, because there is going to be enough toilet paper around.

IKEA Reminds People About Their Memories at Home

Ikea launched an emotional campaign in partnership with the Spanish branch. The motto follows a popular hashtag #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (#StayHome), people spontaneously started using.

In the video, people were reminded that their home is a place full of memories. They can create even more memories now. A home is a place where you can be yourself, you can have fun and spend time with your family.

Guinness Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a Different Way

Guinness communicated to their customers that the St. Patrick’s Day feels different this year. However, the company stays strong because they’ve been around for 260 years. With such a long history they’ve learned how to weather the storm together and pretty soon everybody will celebrate again the holiday as it should be celebrated.

On the Holiday the company committed $500,000 through our Guinness Gives Back Fund to help communities to work, live and celebrate.

Apple Reminds Creativity Is Still Going on

Apple states they believe in the power of creativity. Staying at home is the perfect opportunity for people to embrace their creativity, learn something new and create inspiring arts.

In their video, Apple shows different people as well as celebrities how they are motivated. They use the time to make interesting stuff so they can stay inspired even staying at home all the time.

The company provides helpful resources with ideas of what you can try at home and also some creative ideas for kids:

Starbucks “Pay it forward” Chain Made Happy Hundreds of Customers

Starbucks “Pay it forward” Chain Made Happy Hundreds of Customers

Imagine if you go in your car for a grocery shopping and decide to stop by for a cup of coffee and the barista tells you that your order is already being paid? Wouldn’t this small thing just warm your heart and make your day?

A pretty positive thing happened in a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida. A customer offered to pay for the coffee of the person behind in the queue. The next customer did the same and they started a chain that became famous on social media as “pay it forward”.

It happened completely naturally and something so small put a smile on about 750 people’s faces.

Ebay Supports Small Brick-And-Mortar Shops

Ebay launched an amazing initiative to support small businesses that are struggling with the digitalization of their shops. The campaign is called “Up & Running”, and it is designed for brick-and-mortar shops only and wants to help them sell on eBay’s website. The businesses can run their store on eBay for free and they also have access to educational courses on the topic.

Social Media Channels Ensure People Will Stay Informed

Having access to reliable sources of information is crucial and this is all the social media channels mission.

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Twitter’s mission is to help people to follow what’s happening around the world. The social media channel is going to bring real value to its community by:

  • Helping people to find reliable information
  • Protecting the public conversation
  • Partnering with organizations
  • Empowering the search of Covid-19 on Twitter
  • Ensuring site reliability
  • Keep their employers and partners save
  • Sharing Twiter’s metrics

There is more. Twitter is not only helping with delivering information to the people. Twitter’s chief executive and co-founder Jack Dorsey donated $1 billion to global coronavirus research.


Facebook helps to prevent the spread of the virus by giving access to reliable information. When clicking on it you are redirected to official sources like governments or to the World Health Organization.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the company will work against the misinformation and won’t permit sharing information that will put people in danger. They will remove conspiracy theories or will ban any ads that abuse the situation.

In addition, Facebook started a Small business grants programme to support small businesses in these difficult times.


Instagram COVID-19

Once you type the hashtags for #coronavirus or #covid19 you will see a message asking you if you want to be redirected to the official website to check the information there.


Pinterest COVID 19

If you want to escape from Coronavirus news or misinformation Pinterest is the place. If you type anything related to it you get a message explaining that the topic violates their community standards. Pinterest asks people to rely on medical services or healthcare providers if needed.

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Wrapping up

From the eleven crisis communication examples, we can sum up a few characteristics that shape their messages:

  • Providing relevant information about Covid-19
  • Encouraging people to rely on official sources
  • Listening to their customers and respond accordingly
  • Showing empathy and focusing on the positive side
  • Being open and transparent
  • Trying to help, being useful, launching different charity initiatives

It’s always inspiring to see brands are really trying to adapt and help those in need. We can all learn from the good examples and elaborate crisis communication planning aligned with our customer’s pains.

Has your brand supported fighting the pandemic with a crisis campaign? Share your goodwill story in the comments below.

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