Levi’s COVID-19 response, metrics to watch during the crisis, and why it’s time to consider TikTok

Here’s a roundup of the week’s crisis communication news for communicators.


Here are the top 10 tips and takeaways from the week ending April 24 taken from our Crisis Communications Daily newsletter. Be sure to subscribe here to get this daily roundup directly in your inbox.


Levi Strauss & Co.’s recommendation for change communication. Levi’s largest store is in Wuhan, China, so it has been dealing with COVID-19 fallout since the outbreak began. Learn the five imperatives of change communication from Levi’s head global head of employee communication.

Combat Zoom fatigue by taking breaks and setting limits on video calls. A video call can create added pressure for workers and lead to exhaustion, warn experts. They suggest limiting video calls to when such interactions are necessary and creating a separate space for these kinds of meetings.

Look for metrics to guide your crisis response. To find the right cadence for engaging employees, you have to solicit feedback and be humble enough to make changes when things aren’t working. Here are a handful of suggestions from NRG Energy’s crisis response.

Is this crisis the right time to consider TikTok? Consumers are trapped in their homes and looking for digital entertainment and the brands that survive will find creative ways to engage new audiences. Here’s how some see the future of the short video platform.

COVID-19 specific responses are crucial to build trust. Here’s how Porter Novelli’s COVID-19 Tracker Report breaks down the way crisis-specific messages from brands can impact sentiment and move consumers to action.

Image courtesy of Porter Novelli.

JPMorgan stresses employee safety and timing in memo on return to work. The bank says it doesn’t have a firm timeline but will follow guidance from local governments and authorities.

The New York Times reported:

“Two considerations are paramount as we plan for this across the firm: We want to do it at the right time — which may differ by region, country and state — and in a manner that prioritizes your health and safety,” the bank’s Operating Committee said in the memo.

Explain where previous profits went when announcing layoffs. Employees can feel a sense of whiplash when furloughs and layoffs are announced when mere months ago your organization was enjoying strong financial growth. Here’s how Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan explained the challenges his organization faces:

Hasan writes that the company brought in $1.27 million in after-tax profit last year, and that money has already been reinvested back into the business. He’s now looking for more “significant cost-cutting,” including reducing senior leaders’ salaries, including his own, not automatically back hiring open roles, and cutting the budget “wherever we can.” Still, layoffs are likely imminent.

Keep your organization part of the conversation with careful message positioning. Syracuse University professor Beth Egan shares examples of brands that have done well and tips for matching your brand’s tone to the moment.

Starbucks’ CEO receives plaudits for open letter. Kevin Johnson laid out the plan for opening stores across the country last week, but emphasizes that decisions will be driven by local employees with connections to their community.

Inc. wrote:

Unlike many companies, Starbucks is showing that it’s a company willing to empower its people to make important decisions–like when and how to open up a store, while considering local circumstances. But Starbucks doesn’t leave these local leaders without guidance–the company’s corporate headquarters provides guiding principles, a rich data set, and an ongoing dialogue with those leaders to support their decision making.

APCO Worldwide’s founder: “Don’t overstate your value.” You want to be seen to make a difference in your community, but the truth for many organizations is that your options are limited. Here’s why this PR exec says you shouldn’t overplay your hand on CSR.

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