A crisis is anything that has the potential to damage your company’s reputation. Whether it’s a social media complaint or an employee committing a criminal offence, a quick response can make the world of difference.
As a company, having a plan in place to react correctly and quickly will have a bearing on how you will be viewed by your stakeholders and future customers. Integrate crisis communications in your organisation through PR programmes to alleviate the stress of this natural risk in putting any brand in the public eye.
Having a properly trained spokesperson is critical to successfully handling a crisis situation. It is important to be open and honest about who will be the best representative for the company – leave egos at the door! It’s also worth thinking about who will stand in should that person be ill or on annual leave.
Having a separation between the people handling the operational side of a potentially damaging situation and the spokesperson can also be useful. Let them focus on being the voice and the face of the company.
Your spokesperson’s credibility, sincerity and humility in the spotlight will have a significant bearing on the company’s reputation remaining intact. Which can even potentially improve if handled particularly well. People often don’t remember the details of a crisis, but they tend to remember how a company handled themselves.
Your employees can be vital in delivering your message in a trusted way.
Though they should not be talk to the media, fully inform employees on what to say to friends or relatives that may have questions.
Providing them with accurate information about the crisis, creates a trusted and viable channel. A lack of information can lead to potentially damaging hearsay.
With the increasing number of crises emerging through social media, instill a sound understanding of protocol. Your social media team should be well versed in flagging, acknowledging and responding.
These key messages need to be coordinated across channels and in collaboration with the crisis communications team.
Social media is a prompt indicator of how people are reacting to your response in the face of a crisis.
The Bottom line
Lastly stay true to the rest of your communication practices. Ensure that the way in which you deal with any given crisis reflects your company values.
Preparation is crucial in crisis comms and having a supportive PR team can help you manage any challenging situation.
Conteur can provide support to organisations of all sizes. Putting crisis management policies and procedures in place and delivering crisis simulation and face-to-face media training.