The Crisis Playbook, Part 1: Business Tactics During, and After, COVID-19

How we work needs a radical rethink. To support our clients, we’re building a best practice playbook for businesses: how to navigate now and plan for what’s next.

Sam Rothkopf

Chief Development Officer

Looking at the business landscape today, we see three distinct types of business responses emerging. They are:

Activators: Looking to adapt or innovate immediately, well-positioned to contribute directly to public health efforts, currently very active and engaged.

Managers: Seeking business continuity and stability; having to make some difficult decisions in the short term but confident that they can ride out this storm in the medium term.

Voyagers: Seeing major impact at present, and looking to a long-term upturn rather than immediate profitability, but exploring all avenues to ensure a strong comeback in time.

If you recognize your company in this list, here’s our three-part guide to what you need to do right now. We’ve chosen some typical business scenarios and the reactions we’d recommend now and next. We hope it’s helpful, practical and inspirational.


1: Activators

Many businesses are trying to quickly adapt their communications to the changing needs of their customers, and find the optimum way to talk to employees, through this crisis. So, what are the most empathetic and effective messaging strategies to deploy? Below are some thought starters, as well as quick turn solutions that can help reframe crisis communications.

Activator companies fall into two large categories: Those who are sustaining operations (such as critical utilities and infrastructure necessities) and those who are increasing operation to meet new demand (such as healthcare, grocery, logistics, etc.) These brands’ CMOs, CEOs and COOs need to communicate detailed instructions and updates to their customers regularly. Other companies such as gyms, restaurants, entertainment, wellness and more, while not essential to keeping the country running, are essential to customers’ lives and happiness and also need to provide updates and encouragement, while thinking about creative ways to keep customers engaged. We’ll be talking about their strategies in parts 2 and 3 of this guide.

But regardless of whether your business is contracting, expanding, or sustaining in the current climate, you need focused communications strategies to keep your customers and employees feeling informed, taken care of and engaged.

As an immediate action in thinking about communication over the next few months, we suggest keeping logic and empathy at the forefront, and thinking through your authentic message for short, medium and potentially long terms COVID 19 communications. Here is a simple framework to use as you think about your short, medium, and long-term messaging strategy for different audiences.

Objective Inform Assist Connect


As you develop your plan, be sure to consider a few points. What does an authentic communication from your brand include? How do you modulate your voice appropriately? What is a relevant piece of content or information for your customers right now? And, of course, how do you do all of this in a way that supports your business goals?

However, you may find yourself struggling to answer these questions. We have a plan to solve that. Contact us at C Space and we’ll explain how we can help.

With a crisis-ready comms strategy and development process plan in place, you can be ready to manage customer communications in a way that is appropriate for your situation and your brand through COVID-19, as well as any future disruptions to business.

We’re in uncharted territory – but that doesn’t mean nobody has a map.