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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No Responses to “Levi’s COVID-19 response, metrics to watch during the crisis, and why it’s time to consider TikTok”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    Is the storm ahead going to hit us in PR? May the great PR firms and law firms soon—maybe in the next two years—need great PR and lawyering for themselves?

    We can make guesses about “what else” the public will feel if we look at three of the public’s questions now and soon.

    .1. WHEN will we finally have a coronavirus treatment and vaccine?

    .2. WHAT sense is there for treatment advances to cost so much more than millions of us can afford?

    .3. WHO gives those drug company and PR bastards a right to charge the middle class as much as the ultra-rich—and not to tell the truth about profiteering?

    Once the media and the public are outraged about not enough drug availability plus too much cost and taxes for drugs, look at the “but why” questions that our experience tells us the public may ask.

    WHY are the PR firms and law firms defending the rich when they already have so much while many of us have so desperately little? Do they even care how we have to live?

    WHY don’t we make the glib PR and law firms pay the public for our damages just as drivers who cause damage have to pay for what they caused? Have we not been damaged that drugs go to the rich before the poor although the law says we’re all supposed to be equal? And that the truth is one thing but the PR and law firms sometimes tell us something else? The American laws of communication and lawyering, do these laws not provide fines or even jail for knowingly false or misleading information? Do we not have whistle blowers who will reveal what was said about drugs and prices when PR and law firm doors were closed?

    WHY should we not have full disclosure about who the PR and law firm communicators are, where they live and how much they earn from telling us their half truths and untruths?

    “Go where the money is” is an unwritten rule guiding activists who know that the louder you yell, and the more money is possessed by those you are yelling about, the more likely it is that “calmer heads” among the alleged “perpetrators” will suggest making “some kind of settlement” with activists so the demonstrations and name calling end.

    If I sound like a nut in this forecast of possible danger, stop reading. But if you think that not eventually but maybe in the next two years an exhausted and angry public may look for who is to blame, then doctor heal thyself: what can PR do now so PR survives largely uninjured later?

    What can we do now to not only persuade but HELP the masses who need the drugs, produce the drugs and pay for the drugs but who don’t get much profit from the drugs?

    While doctors and lavishly compensated pharma communicators are urging “social distancing,” have too many millions in the public suffered from “economic distancing”? Are the better off in America living in the economic stratosphere while most of the public is barely scraping by here on earth or buried beneath it?

    “So what should we say” is the question often asked by industries in a crisis. But a major question, top PR firm s counsel the besieged, is “what should we do?” What should PR DO to avert injury—and serious claims for damages—if the media start asking whether PR and law firms have helped cause a “pandemic of poverty”?

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