How you respond to a crisis can make or break your organisation. A crisis can hit any brand, in any industry, at any time, and typically you have a short period of time to react and respond so as to not jeopardise the business.
If the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, here are some tips for effective crisis communications.
Have you got a set plan if a crisis occurs? This plan should include spokespeople responses, key stakeholders, fact sheets, common questions, war room and other key locations and sample press releases and statements. Most importantly, this plan should cover ALL possible scenarios your organisation may encounter.
The crisis communications plan should also highlight the hierarchy for sharing information and assign key stakeholders to various tasks.
A plan like this is crucial to ensure you aren’t left floundering if something does happen.
Having a communications plan is fantastic, but it won’t be of any use if your stakeholders are unaware of how everything is supposed to run. It’s key you organise regular exercises and training scenarios and utilise your plan to ensure everyone understands how to act.
Nip the crisis in the bud as soon as it happens. Your organisation needs to demonstrate assuredness and decisiveness in a crisis in order to gain public confidence and avoid the situation festering.
Silence implies guilt and can exacerbate the situation. Pro tip here: in your crisis plan and associated spokespeople responses DO NOT use ‘no comment’ as an appropriate answer. ‘No comment’ is the easiest way to make people feel uneasy and distrustful. It is imperative that you at least inform the public that you are gathering facts and will offer a full statement when you know the correct information.
Social media is one of the most important aspects when it comes to a crisis. You should have a designated team that is monitoring the social media platforms as the crisis is unfolding. This team can swiftly respond to any hearsay or concerns the public may have.
If you try and cover up your mistakes, not fully disclose, or shift the blame then you will likely worsen the backlash. Take responsibility and you could find that people might be more sympathetic towards you.
When a crisis arises, you might be tempted to panic and make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. But reacting and responding without fully considering the implications of that response can have a negative affect and potentially blow the situation further out of proportion.
It’s important that during this time, you fully consider every move you make and assess the situation at hand and then react accordingly.
Crises are never considered a positive thing for an organisation. But, if you are prepared, honest and transparent, you have a greater chance at mitigating some of the damage.
This content is derived from the number of sources listed below. VO Group does not take ownership of the content. Read more about crisis communication below or take a look at our previous blog.