Communicating during COVID-19: A Qualitative Study Analysing Discourse to Find the Best Practice of Communicating during COVID-19

Frederik Færch

Student thesis: Master thesis


The COVID-19 pandemic has left the entire globe in a state of shock and despair. The pandemic of this magnitude is unprecedented in our day and age, which means there is no template of how to handle it. The lack of a template is both a challenge to governments as well as companies and individuals.
It is impossible to present a paper touching upon all of these different instances. Therefore, does this project aim at presenting what is best practice for brands navigating through this COVID-19 pandemic.The project concludes thatbest practice for conducting communication during a global pandemic is: Analyse the rhetorical arenafor one’s brandand act based on that.In the early stages of this project, it became evident, that it was rather difficult to generate the best practice of merely one case example. Companies vary in size and options. Furthermore, different brands were placed in different situations. Whereas some struggled others thrived. Therefore, it was decided to consider three vastly different cases to enable the research to be generalised.
The outcomes of the three cases were relatively similar. However, their approaches were incredibly different. It became quite obvious throughout the analysis, that it was the brand identity and the situation that determined the approach. Different approaches also meant that different theory applied. This paper presents a mixture of theories which was applicable to these specific cases. These theories do not exclude others, although they confirm the themes of the theory which is most likely to be applicable to brands navigating through a global pandemic.
The methodology selected for this analysis may not be the most efficient in determining the best practice. However, these methods were considered the only measure applicable, thus there is no post situation as of yet, and therefore the crisis communication presented is still active. The methods analyse the rhetorical decision made by the brands and to generate a conclusion of their decision the responses were analysed as well. This should not give a definite result, however, it should enable to make an estimate to whether the messages were received positively or negatively.
Enjoy this piece of introductory study to one of the most trending research topics in the near future. A study which has presented initial ideas and guidelines to brands who struggle to navigate through the stressful and confusing times of a global pandemic. These ideas should lay a foundation for future research, and to gain actual insights to whether the brands in question succeeded; future research is required.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages75