Handling crisis communication
Many companies do not take crises seriously until they become a real threat to them. Acting under pressure and watching the reputation of our business evaporate is not easy to digest.
Do you remember the Volkswagen case and the CO2 emissions? Ebola crisis? Spanair’s accident? When a company is in a crisis, it is very important to plan what information the corporation is going to make public. This information will be key to ensure that the media tell the truth.
Only 14% of crises are completely unexpected, i.e. 86% of crises could have been prevented or could have been dealt with provided that the organization had had some minimum preparation beforehand.
But let’s start from the beginning: what is a crisis?
The dictionary tells us that a crisis is a time of great danger, difficulty or confusion when problems must be solved or important decisions must be made.
A crisis is an external or internal event that puts at risk the security of an organization, of its members and its reputation.
The media and social networks can put a crisis on a global scale within minutes. The media force companies to justify and explain themselves. The majority will learn about the crisis from indirect sources, on the news, so it is very important to know what is being said about us at any given time.
We also have to find out whether the origin of the crisis was predictable, like a strike, layoff plan, etc. But crisis can be completely unpredictable, as are the cases of accidents, kidnappings, a defective product…
How to react when a crisis unfolds
First of all, crises are categorised into colours. The crisis can be green (its focus is clear and it has not much repercussion), yellow (it trascends the media and has public repercussion), or it can also be red (uncertain ending, high repercussion and it can seriously affect the image of the organization).
When a crisis blossoms within our company, it creates a situation of communication urgency. We have to act fast, challenging the difficulties that come up and trying to neutralize the negative information coming from the media. We have to act quickly to make sure that the media tell our truth, thus cutting out rumours that may arise.
In such a situation, internal and external communication are very important. We must set up a crisis committee that will formulate a unified message to be directed to the publics. It is crucial to keep this message unaltered.
It is also vital to set up an action protocol for crises. If we do not know how to react, when the crisis unfolds it will be hard to have everybody organized and on the same track.
We will tell you how to make this manual on another article.
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