Crisis Management

Crisis communication refers to the procedures that an organisation uses to effectively communicate with the public during the event of an emergency.

Emergency can come in many forms in your business – no matter what sector you operate in.

Reputation crises, product recalls, weather damage, fire damage and pandemics all call for some form of crisis communication with concerned stakeholders.

Communicating well in a crisis relies means switching to a systematic approach – an ‘auto-pilot’ so every stakeholder is remembered.

How important is crisis communication?

In emergencies – reputation damage, bad news, severe weather etc – crisis communication builds trust in your business.

When you share your position in a crisis with concerned parties – with updates and statements – you help your team, customers and other stakeholders, decide what they should do.

Say nothing? You’ll create a ‘communications vacuum’ which your competitors will be happy to fill.

A crisis is an opportunity to show strong leadership.

How to handle crisis communication

Crisis communication needs to be:

  1. Targeted
  2. Relevant
  3. Up to date.

Tips to communicate well in a crisis: 

  • Release information NOW – any emergency calls for timely information.  Take time to assemble information but be sure to issue a holding statement to acknowledge what’s happening or happened.  Delays cause issues. Be early, on the pace and transparent and you’ll limit damage and gain some control. 
  • Be open – show how you’re remedying the situation.  Be prepared to be inspected from all sides – whether that’s on statements, emails, social media. 
  • The message is in the medium – show your understanding by your choice of medium eg post if emails may fail due to power being out.
  • Messages must ring true – picture the person you’re addressing eg consider the personas in your communications plan. General messages sound impersonal and cold. Focus on their unique concerns and you’ll find common themes.  Built a matrix of audiences – what you need to be saying to each.
  • Less is more – be relevant with what you say. Avoid bombarding people with irrelevant information.

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Your reputation is fragile. Have a plan in place to protect your reputation should disaster strike. Work that plan and communicate effectively to limit any damage and maximise opportunity.