If you haven’t heard of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), it’s safe to say you’ve been living under a rock. But then again, that might be the safest place for you to wait out the storm, as the virus continues to spread. The United States alone is facing over 600 cases. As a result, public gatherings have been discouraged, the largest marketing conferences of the year have been canceled, and domestic and international travel has been turned on its head, leading to public uncertainty on what the future holds. In response, brands have been creating high quality content to share their stance on this global health crisis and taking appropriate measures in crisis communication.
For high quality content to truly be effective, brands have to listen to their customers. And with the sheer volume of COVID-19 conversations, brands need to listen more carefully than ever. A strategic content marketing plan needs a strong foundation, and that starts with high quality content. Here are some high quality content examples about COVID-19 from some of the world’s largest brands, and ways they are using content during this global health crisis.
Johnson & Johnson
The Johnson and Johnson crisis management strategy focuses on relaying the latest news, all the pertinent facts, and addressing the fears that the public is facing — all within their content hub. For example, their piece titled, “What You Need to Know About the Latest on the Coronavirus—and a Potential Preventive Vaccine” details the start of the pandemic, its evolution to what it is today, and the steps they’re taking on a potential vaccine to prevent the virus from spreading further. The brand has a history of creating new treatments and vaccines, such as the pandemonium surrounding Ebola, Zika, and influenza.
Consumers can also learn how Johnson & Johnson is supporting coronavirus relief efforts with their piece, “By the Numbers: 6 Ways Johnson & Johnson Is Helping Support Coronavirus Relief Efforts.” Their monetary and equipment donations to the Chinese Red Cross, and to healthcare workers on the frontlines, display the actions the brand is taking to provide answers where people need help.
These pieces of content are high quality content examples that are authentic, and establish Johnson & Johnson as a brand with authority when those around the world need it most.
Walmart’s internal communications show the lengths that the retail giant takes to provide consistent, reliable messaging from the inside, out. In an email to their employees, Walmart addressed the coronavirus concerns and issued their “Coronavirus Update and Travel Guidelines” memo, which they also posted online to their newsroom. The Walmart crisis management strategy relies on transparency and ensures what they are practicing internally is reflected in their external communications as well.
The brand also outlined their stance on international travel and mentioned their donation to the heavily impacted region of Hubei in China, in their memo “How Walmart is Responding to the Coronavirus” — also available in their newsroom. By keeping this repository of communications in their newsroom, they are building a content hub that began internally and transformed into a public-facing hub for the world to see.
The world is hustling to contain the outbreak, and the travel industry has experienced a major disruption in the way people view public transportation and the importance travelers are placing on a sanitary journey. The Delta Airlines crisis management strategy centers around the necessity of a travel company reassuring fearful flyers that when it comes to the skies, they have things under control. Delta Airlines shared tips on their hub including “5 things customers can do to stay healthy when flying” so those packing their bags can know ways to avoid sickness, as well as waiving change fees and allowing for flexible fee waivers. Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, Bill Lentsch, released both a letter on their commitment to customers and a video where he explains the measures the airline is taking, and describes their past commitments to safety during the Ebola crisis.
What makes these such high quality content pieces is their source. In the video, Lentsch shares Delta’s commitment to safe flying backed up with proof, as he explains their work with health officials and how they’ve overcome past outbreaks to lend reassurance to passengers. The authority that comes from Delta Airlines’ numerous pieces of communication lets consumers know the airline has it under control.
Veering slightly from the formula of Johnson & Johnson, Walmart and Delta, the Starbucks crisis management strategy is rooted in brand storytelling. In their piece titled “One global company’s steps to navigate COVID-19 in China – and the lessons learned,” they follow the journey of two Starbucks executives and the tough decisions they had to make in the face of the outbreak, and how the company has come out strong. By recounting two major Starbucks decisions in a unique, personal way, the decisions Starbucks has made to close countless stores across China, and paying partners while the stores remain closed, makes those encountering the content piece feel like part of the conversation, which in turn deepens the relationship with their consumers. Their creation of the “Contactless Starbucks Experience” is a positive element of the story, as the coffee giant found alternative solutions to serve their customers by leveraging digital ordering.
This Starbucks content stands in stark contrast to other forms of coronavirus content, in that it’s unique in form, and delivered through a heartfelt story. By sharing a positive message and showing how Starbucks is being proactive during the crisis, the brand exemplifies its leadership in crisis communications.
This time of public uncertainty and unrest from coronavirus can be a trying time for businesses. As people look for answers, it can be comforting for trusted, big name brands to use their voice to lend reassurance and demonstrate leadership. Content hubs by their definition promote authority and thought leadership attributed to their brand, and these high quality content examples are just one way that brands can be a valuable and reliable resource for consumers as they navigate what this global health crisis means for them in the coming months.
If you are a nonprofit or brand issuing corporate communications about the coronavirus, you may be eligible for the Knotch platform donation program. Learn more.