Case Study: International Retail Brand Creates A ‘Big Crisis Comfort Blanket’



Many of us had one as a child – a blanket, often reduced to a scrap of cloth, that when we held it close, made our world feel safe and secure.

How many of us as adults during the crazy months of 2020 felt like reaching for our ‘blankie’!

The issues and crisis communications team at one of the world’s highest profile retail chains had a comforter to help it get through the global pandemic – the In Case of Crisis platform.

It all started with a familiar story. An organization knows its paper-based issues and crisis response resources are inadequate – hard to use and frequently out of date. They need a push to move beyond familiar paper and email tools. The team often discusses whether there is a more effective, digital solution and are faced with the ‘build, buy or repurpose a generic tool.’ 

The team’s lead recalls how, a few years ago, the company researched new solutions to strengthen its crisis preparedness:

“We came across RockDove and its In Case of Crisis product. It all made so much sense.”

For the leading international retail chain, the much-needed nudge to move on from the status quo was discovering the In Case of Crisis platform. The company realized that it ticked every box in the team’s wish-list for an issues and crisis management app, which included:

  • Tools to help the team collaborate during an emerging issue or crisis response
  • Unlimited number of plans and users
  • Seamless communication across the enterprise
  • Single sign-on, so no new passwords to remember

Of course, the idea of an issues and crisis management app is one thing – testing it with a real crisis is another.

Barely had the issues and crisis plans been published on the app and the team coached on how to get the most out of the In Case of Crisis platform, when they faced one of the worst kind of crises – a traumatic incident at one of the company’s stores.

“Holy crap, we are on,” the team lead recalls thinking as the news came in. 

The team and the In Case of Crisis app passed the test admirably. The app proved to be easy to use and effective in supporting a quick response to the incident.

Following that tough baptism, the international retail chain’s new issues and crisis management system rose to new challenges including:

  • The complex staging of an event in China, where the team all had easy access to critical information via the app on their mobile devices.
  • Managing the difficult set-up and organizational issues of back-to-back events in Paris.

Over time, the strong case for using the In Case of Crisis app, notably how it enabled so many people to stay in touch and access information wherever they were located, led to more departments adding Crisis Playbooks and creating dedicated workspaces on the platform.

Then came COVID-19. 

By this time more than 500 people at the international retail chain were on the app and the platform was deployed to provide information and guide the response to, in the words of the team lead, “all the craziness that everyone was dealing with!”

This included:

  • Managing the shutdown of all the stores, supported by briefing materials and Q&As.
  • Responding to the COVID impact on the distribution centers, whose employees were deemed essential workers.
  • Protecting the health and safety of workers with guidelines on preventing the spread of the virus in the workplace, how to handle sick employees and how to prepare for a return to work.

The issues and crisis communications team lead recalls:

“In the early days we had a crisis call for every single positive test. The discussions helped us fine-tune our protocols and policies. It was so nice to have In Case of Crisis already in place. It was the perfect solution for the pandemic challenge and it has never been used more.

“We had our comfort blanket.”

Read more about how the leading international retail chain is deploying In Case of Crisis in their full Case Study. 

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