Kith’s COVID-19 Crisis Communications Playbook

May 15, 2020

Over the past eight weeks, we have hosted a series of webinars sharing our insights, observations, and recommendations for responding to the COVID-19 crisis. We sincerely hope the content we have shared has been helpful to you and the organizations you serve. Our goal from the beginning has been to be of service to our “kith” and generously help as many people and organizations as we can as we all manage a new normal.

In that spirit, we created Kith’s COVID-19 Crisis Communications Playbook and have made it available as a free download. The Playbook is a collection of best practices and resources that we shared during the webinar series. 

While most of the content is specific to the COVID pandemic, these frameworks and tactics can be applied to many critical moments organizations face. For example, the 6+2 Elements of an Effective First Statement were developed specifically to help organizations communicate decisions to suspend or reduce operations as the consequences of the pandemic became clear. Last week, my colleague Jeff Blaylock applied this framework to a communication from a leading higher education institution announcing its intent to return to on-campus instruction for the fall semester. He found that the university president’s letter to stakeholders had all six primary elements and each of the “plus ones” in our framework. 

Always Be Communicating is another of the best practices highlighted in the Playbook. This has always been a best practice, but it has taken an all-encompassing event like this pandemic for leaders to understand its importance fully. Strategic communicators and leaders should take the lessons learned over the past few months and apply them to their communications strategies going forward.

We have a client that has been using weekly videos from leadership to keep their employees updated and, more importantly, connected even though they are working and sheltering in their homes. Another client has ramped up its social media frequency to highlight non-profit organizations helping the industry and its employees get through these difficult times. Even if you have nothing new to say, always be communicating. Keep reinforcing your core values and keep connected to the audiences that matter.

We are putting a pause on our weekly webinars for now. June feels like another inflection point – whether it’s the 1st or the 8th, as both dates are being talked about – as more states and countries reduce restrictions on movement and commerce, and we will have learned from the early moving states and businesses who have already come back. 

We’d love to hear any feedback you have about the Playbook, the webinar series or the COVID content we’ve made available on our website. Stay safe. We will get through this together.


You can download the playbook here.

Filed under: Blog


Bill is a reputation management, crisis communications and professional development expert, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance panelist, and best-selling author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management. He has more than 25 years of global experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for both Fortune 500 companies and winning global political campaigns.