Well-Informed Decisions: Using Media Monitoring Through the Coronavirus Crisis

4 minutes reading time

Тhe situation around the coronavirus pandemic changes еvery hour: restrictions in public life, newly affected regions and industries, lay-offs and financial distress. Those who have up-to-date information in this situation can make the right decision at the right time. Therefore, media monitoring is essential nowadays. Where should you focus your attention? How can news alerts, for example, help you gain a better overview?


Companies invest a lot of time, money and energy to build trust with their customer base. At the same time, everyone is facing new challenges in the coronavirus crisis. For example, Adidas, H&M and other companies initially announced that they would no longer pay rents due to store closures. This led to an explosion in reporting on the three-stripe group and a large-scale attack on its social media channels.

In such a situation, the number of articles, posts and tweets is too great to handle – brands should be able to access aggregated information and analyze the situation as a whole. If you are prepared for the crisis and have your channels in mind, you can react faster if the number of negative mentions increases. Adidas only reacted to the crisis after three days, which experts consider to be too late.

Monitoring your media presence can be just as important for companies that are now changing their business model and producing, for example, disinfectants instead of liquor. The aim is to communicate transparently the company has shifted its production to respond to the ongoing crisis. How the media takes up the topic and whether this damages the company’s image can be checked by analyzing the reports and social media channels.


Many companies are affected by the crisis rather indirectly. Chocolate producers, for example, need information on how the cocoa trade is developing or whether milk powder manufacturers are ceasing production. The quicker you have an overview of the situation, the more successfully you can develop a new strategy and minimize losses. That’s why it is worthwhile to have a close look at the upstream and downstream sectors as well as your industry – which cities are epidemic hot spots? Where do factories stand empty? Will specific delivery routes be blocked and for how long? What is the situation in the industries related to my business?

Some media monitoring contracts are changed or intensified by companies during a crisis. For example, it is relevant for banks whether people panic and suddenly want to withdraw a lot of cash. Just as with hoarding toilet paper and pasta, cash shortages can occur simply because ATMs cannot be refilled quickly enough.


Social media is currently the preferred channel for many people to stay in touch with friends and family or to get the latest information, so its use is at an all-time high. Companies are following their customers and adapting their marketing to the coronavirus crisis. They are shifting their B2C advertising mainly to social media channels. Thereby, relevant content is produced for the current circumstances. For example, the discount store Kik advertises on Instagram for sweatpants that can be worn comfortably at home. It is important to define content that does not fit the current situation. What can be misinterpreted? Many avoid advertising that represents an ideal world and have to think of new formats in order to keep their community together. Popular methods to achieve that are webinars and live streams.


Increased user numbers also mean that advertising campaigns are perceived more strongly. This opens up opportunities to increase the reach and benefit in the long term. Analyzing data volumes on user numbers, trends and topics across channels is essential to understanding whether your social media strategy is successful. How do users react to the content or what do they want? Also, observing how competitors are currently advertising and how their numbers are developing can be useful and inspire new ideas.


Social media channels are not the only ones to benefit from the coronavirus crisis – television and radio have significantly increased their reach as well. On Sunday, 22 March, the Tagesschau reached 12 million viewers for the first time, with ratings such as those of the 2018 Football World Cup. With the growing demand for information, it is becoming increasingly important to watch the spoken word as well. Maybe you are mentioned in the news or there is new information about a relevant industry.


Print media cannot provide the latest information as quickly as online media in the era of COVID-19, but it offers other advantages. “We are already noticing that print media is still important for our customers,” says Eva-Katharina Wenzel, Key Account Manager at pressrelations. “Print media reacts to the crisis by offering special issues and extensive background research. For example, special issues of Stern and Fokus are in demand from our customers because they achieve large print runs”. Their recommendation – do not rely solely on print media but also do not ignore it completely. What big newspapers and publishers write is taken up by many online news sites, so it is worth considering the original sources. Moreover, print and online editions are not always identical.


The rapid development of the coronavirus crisis is overwhelming with an abundance of reports.

“Unfortunately, there are not many channels that provide up-to-date information on a daily basis that is summarized and tailored to the information needs of companies. The Coronavirus News Alert by pressrelations provides us twice a day with all relevant information, from business and politics”, says Stefan Göbel, Head of External Communication, Generali Deutschland AG.

How does the number of infected people develop, how does the reproduction rate of the virus behave, when will the shutdown be lifted, and what support can businesses hope for? Reliable information is essential in a crisis.

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