By  Hilmarie Hutchison, CEO of Matrix PR

The hype surrounding the crisis still resonates across the globe. Almost every adjective that could have been used during a crisis has been used by people, brands and organizations alike. For the first time in possibly a long time, everyone is in agreement – we are in the midst of a crisis. 

But with disruption, comes an opportunity to be seen, heard and taken seriously.  History shows that emergencies have always brought people together.

Here are a few crisis communication steps that brands can take at times like this: 

  1. Take a step back
  2. Understand behavior
  3. Be Social
  4. Communicate
  5. Sell

The first step for every brand is to simply take a step back and observe. Take a look at the market, the people, the community and the world. They are changing, adapting, turning and improving. Check out what other brands are doing and how people are responding to them. 

Before you speak, post, or send out any communication: observe and hear. 


While people are confined to their homes, it is only natural that web traffic will be higher, TV consumption will increase and e-commerce business may get a boost. However, in many cases traffic has been down across some industries while others have seen a surge. Not surprisingly, most searches are centered around COVID-19. However, related topics where higher traffic is predictable include healthcare, food, media and finances. 

People, community and search behaviors are changing and brands have to adapt and change too.


Social media consumption is probably at its highest, with people searching, reading, watching and sharing everything related to COVID-19. Brands must use this opportunity to be social with a solid social media strategy and not just manage social media accounts. If their products and services were not made available online, now is the time to make it easily accessible through social media too. For some, their Facebook news feed has just become their daily newspaper and brands have to figure out a way of being relevant and finding their way into people’s news feeds. Your product and service posts must be linked to or sandwiched between helping people tackle the crisis. 


Traditional wisdom would dictate that if you don’t know much about the pandemic, keep quiet and say nothing. But in times like these it is every individual and organization’s responsibility to know more and communicate more. Do your research and aim be an authoritative voice to your clients and customers. If you are not creating content about COVID-19, ensure that you are sharing the right information from the right sources that is relevant and beneficial to your audiences. Leaders can take to LinkedIn to share their thoughts, comments and inspire others. You must be seen as a brand that cares!


What? Sell when COCID-19 threatens us all? Yes! This is the best time to sell. Not your products and services. But sell the image that you are a considerate and compassionate brand. Reach out and offer your support to the communities you operate in. Anything else that sells will be a by-product of that concern. If there is one word that people have on their mind and you should too it is – HELP! In the long run people will remember brands that stepped up and didn’t focus on commerce but put people first. People will repay you for your acts of goodwill when things settle down and when they have the opportunity to.  Your reputation is what you can enhance during this time.