The corona crisis: How does crisis communication work in an unprecedented situation?

SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 or simply coronavirus: We all seem to have become experts in virology and epidemiology over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic are far from the only problem. Next to individuals and the health sector, the economy will bear the brunt of this crisis.


But how should you act and react in a situation that seems completely unpredictable?


Use crisis communication

There is one thing that the corona crisis does have in common with other problem scenarios: We can make plans for it, at least in terms of communication. We can meet this challenge with tools that we already have and that do not need developing and testing by researchers in high-security laboratories. The crisis caused by the coronavirus is easier to handle than the virus itself.


As a communications agency with an international network, there is one thing above all we can do with crisis communication for coronavirus-related problems: We can plan it. First and foremost by devising a strategy that is tailor-made to each individual company. By producing a solid analysis of potential communication objectives. And by preparing a schedule that allows for the peculiarities of this health crisis and likely unavailability of staff.


Expert knowledge to help steer through the crisis

We know for certain: Just as our agency relies on recommendations of the Robert Koch-Institut, right now, in the eye of the storm, is the time to bring in crisis communication expertise and allow it to take effect. Just as the curve of new infections can be flattened by isolation and social distancing, the communication challenges posed by the corona crisis can be easier to meet with the right preparation.


Trust in scientific expertise: Avoid direct contact. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home if at all possible. And trust in our experience: The way through a crisis is only as effective as the way it is communicated. Being well prepared is essential, right now but also once the crisis has passed.


Plan for the aftermath

No crisis plan yet for the time during or after the corona crisis? Not certain whether you should have your ow19n website on internal developments relating to coronavirus? Unsure how responsibilities will be re-allocated when larger numbers of staff are unable to work? Coronavirus has become far more than just a medical issue. It is a crisis affecting supply chains, employers and international enterprises as well as traditional family firms who are facing a large-scale disruption for the very first time in their history.


ad publica’s team can look back on many years of experience and success in crisis communication. Our resources include global networking and multi-media strategies. We have delivered targeted and effective support in a wide range of different scenarios. And we have reacted swiftly and uniquely to the corona crisis: All our colleagues are working from their home offices, digitally networked and absolutely virus-free. Is your company affected? We offer a swift, short-term and, if necessary, completely digitalized crisis communication service during and after the corona pandemic.


Our offering for corona crisis communication:

  • Crisis communication
  • Crisis management
  • Issues management
  • Consumer communications
  • Reputation management (online and offline)
  • Preparing and coordinating printed and online statements
  • Scenario planning
  • Workshops: Staff training for conduct before/during/after the crisis (online)
  • Social media strategy
  • Choice of relevant social media channels
  • Community management
  • Consumer communications
  • Design, activation and supervision during the lifecycle of social media ads
  • Technical realization (web development)
  • Social media guidelines
  • Social media monitoring
  • Preparing blog articles, press releases and status updates
  • Training and workshops (online)


Our managing director, Heiko Biesterfeldt, is positive about one thing on the post-coronavirus future: ‘The worst thing you can do now is nothing at all.’


Do get in touch. We cannot fight coronavirus. But we can address its consequences with effective communication.

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