A crisis is the ultimate test of a company’s reputation and competency with the potential to jeopardize corporate identity and interrupt business operations. The response will obviously include communication. Investigations could ensue, victims and their families of whatever went wrong will likely require answers, and the media will ask tough questions – all reasons why handling a crisis properly is vital.
Enduring a crisis is an emotional experience for everyone involved. Research has shown those responsible for responding to a crisis have feelings of anger, sympathy, fear and anxiety – the same emotions felt by those impacted by the crisis. Emotions will shape public opinion and emotions will guide those responsible for responding to, and mitigating a crisis.
Protecting an organization’s reputation means telling its story.
Entering the conversation requires tremendous coordination and communication with shareholders, business partners, suppliers, employees, regulators, the media and most importantly, your loyal customers. Preparing for a crisis involves planning – and a willingness to execute the plan – to protect your brand and its value, reduce legal consequences, maintain continuity of operations, and tell your story.
Emerging from a crisis brings the opportunity of learning by determining what worked, what didn’t and why. Crisis management is a continually evolving process, requiring work before, during and after a crisis has passed or the threat is removed.
Effective crisis response requires a plan.
The plan should provide procedures and protocols for assessing threats and making decisions to communicate, along with standardized emergency messaging and templates. It should include information on how responders will be organized and their individual responsibilities during a crisis. Often, special media training is essential for communicators.
This is part of a special blog series, Communicating in Crisis. Find tools, information and resources to better understand crisis.
For an expertly assembled plan, contact Ryan.