Got sucked into a maelstrom of a hot gooey mess of a crisis?
In today’s world of mobile phones and ever-present internet, it is quite easy for you to lose face when your mistakes to get blown up. Actually, you don’t even need to make a mistake; any misunderstanding that gets posted online can cause you to suddenly find yourself in the middle of a maelstrom of bad publicity.
News – good and bad – simply travel faster today, and businesses should take this into account when they deal with issues that may affect their company’s image.
In QBO Philippines’ QLITAN, Patti Malay, Business Director of Havas Public Relations Manila, discusses the do’s and don’ts of crisis communication. Here are three things to remember:
Pre-crisis: The best thing to do to handle a crisis is to prevent it
Prevention really is better than cure. Preventing an issue from damaging your companies reputation is easier than getting your credibility back. Be analytical about your businesses; ensure that all processes and systems that are in place are the most ideal, but make concessions for mistakes and surprises. There is no perfect process or system, after all.
Try to anticipate possible issues that may arise and work at ensuring that they are addressed. Be mindful of how you present yourself to your audience and make sure that everyone is onboard your communication strategy should the need for crisis control arise.
In-crisis: If it already happening, then it is too late.
The only thing you can do is manage it to make it die down quicker. You have two options when you find yourself in the middle of a crisis: address it publicly or maintain silence. Keep in mind that choosing incorrectly would be more damaging. So, study. Listen to what people are saying and look at trends. Sometimes the best course of action is to say nothing. However, if remaining silent would be more damaging to your businesses, an organised and coherent communication plan should be set in place.
Ensure that any announcements or releases are honest and consistent; it would be best if you assign a specific person to handle all communications related to the issue so as not to confuse your audience. The more honest and consistent your communication is, the quicker the noise around the issue would lessen.
Post-crisis: Regroup and ensure you are covered
Your work does not end when the crisis is done and all issues have been addressed. Unfortunately, the internet works as your enemy in this case, as it enable people to dredge up old issues years later.
Once the crisis has died down and things are beginning to go back to normal, you should ensure two things: the first is that you take all the measures to prevent the same crisis from arising, and the second is to make sure you create a communication plan that would be easy to activate should the same issue be again brought to light down the line.
Should all else fail, always remember that any approach requires honesty and sincerity.
Featured image credit: artemsam / 123RF Stock Photo
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