The Best Examples of Crisis Communications

Whether it’s a global pandemic or social media spat, businesses will often face challenges that need to be overcome. In these situations, a crisis communication plan is needed to regain control over their public narratives and prevent the issue from escalating.

As a PR and digital marketing agency, we know a good crisis communications plan when we see one.

Here are just a few of the best examples of crisis communications done right.

Leith Spirits

Out with the booze and in with the…hand sanitiser? During the Covid-19 pandemic, gin company Leith Gin, went viral after switching its production line to alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Donating the product to the most vulnerable, Leith Spirit’s philanthropic endeavour gained them plenty of followers on social media, but more importantly, it highlighted strong brand values that will be remembered long after the pandemic has passed.

Why did it work? Strategic thinking secured Leith Spirits credible PR in a time of uncertainty for the sector. Pivoting from their usual service to produce much-needed hand sanitiser, the beverage company earned the respect of the wider public – plus several public declarations to purchase the alcoholic beverage post-pandemic. In doing so, it put itself on the map in a very crowded market.

Innocent Smoothie

Beloved for its witty marketing and humorous pranks, Innocent Smoothie is often praised for its communication strategy. However, the drink’s company slipped up when advertising a fake product – “Conker Milk”. As social media followers were quick to mention, conkers are poisonous and can cause paralysis and death if consumed. Innocent took decisive action, issuing a sincere yet on-brand apology and clarification that this was not the next in their latest milk line.

Releasing new anti-conker milk adverts, Innocent Smoothie swiftly won back its detractors.

Why did it work? Being quick to respond and own up when a brand gets is wrong is a must in crisis management.  Innocent Smoothies quickly owned up to their error, apologised and came up with a creative solution that was totally on-brand.  A perfect example of crisis communication!

Innocent Smoothie released anti-conker milk advertising

Never has a cake caused so much chaos as Cuthbert the Caterpillar, Aldi’s infamous insect-shaped sponge. Faced with a lawsuit from Marks and Spencer for infringing its chocolate cake trademark (that’s Colin to you), Aldi fought the legal proceedings with sassy, humorous tweets that won the nation’s heart.

“#FreeCuthbert” quickly started trending, resulting in fantastic PR for Aldi, and, while the supermarkets may have reached an agreement, we all know who the winner is in the public’s eye.

Why did it work? When used wisely, comedy can be an effective tool for crisis communications. Aldi showed that a humorous approach can help to earn public affection during difficult times – all the while managing the challenge privately.

Incarcerated Cuthbert the Caterpillar
Burger King

Another Covid-19 example, yet this time from fast-food chain Burger King, which used its marketing budget to seemingly promote other restaurants. The burger joint giant took to social media to encourage hungry souls to buy from its competitors, including independents, at a time when the hospitality industry was suffering, and restaurants were facing huge losses.

Using the hashtag #whopperandfriends Burger King shared the signature dishes of other restaurants, positioning itself as a true gent at a challenging time for the sector.

Why did it work? Sincerity and thoughtfulness during a true crisis for the hospitality industry earned Burger King its crown. However, this isn’t to say their communication wasn’t strategised – presenting itself as the good guy earned the King several pieces of coverage, increased social followers and brand awareness.

You never know when a crisis may strike. Get expert guidance on how to plan and implement a crisis communications strategy by contacting Represent here.

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