Given the current environment, dealing with crisis is no more the job of a specialized crisis communications expert alone, it is now an important part of each and every communications professional’s job. Crisis is something that can strike any moment and worst, it happens when we least expect. Here are some time proven advices given by experts who have dealt with crisis in their past.
Anticipate crisis situations and check your preparedness: Just like a fire drill, critical to done at frequent intervals to keep the systems and people ready for disasters. The worst time to test your preparedness is in the midst of an actual crisis, best practices call for anticipating every conceivable crisis situation that might threaten your organization such as a product recall, data leakage etc., and prompting an action of senior management simulating how they would respond in real time. This helps in identifying each senior member’s responsibility and what should be their actions in the eventualities.
Know your audience: When crisis strikes it is important that each stakeholder community is informed by the company on the exact situation promptly by the company themselves, rather than them knowing incorrect or malicious information from other sources. Every team member should be responsible to inform a specific set of stakeholder community so that we ensure that they are informed first hand in the most efficient manner.
Acknowledge and promise to act: In the world of hyper-active social media, nothing can be worse than being caught unaware and then pretend that nothing is wrong. Crisis response is now a 24/7 reality, hence listening to what is spoken about your brand or company is more important than ever. When the crisis hits, it is critical to gather facts and establish who did what, the organization should be however quick in acknowledging what happened and the actions it plans to take to correct the situation. Today’s Maggi and Snapdeal crisis will be a textbook example for PR pros of future.
Bring the senior management to the forefront: During crucial crisis situation, it is very critical that the senior management team is not only visible but carefully communicating with compassion and care with their key stakeholders, starting from your own employees.
Learn from the crisis: Best way to be better at crisis management is learn from the previous one. Go in-depth in studying how each constituent behaved in the crisis situation, how your management team reacted and what could have been improved. How you can mend and improvise on what was affected? Sometime organizations have become better and iconic post crisis.
So stop assuming it cannot happen to you or stop laughing or showing your concerns to corp comms who are dealing with crisis today, instead learn from their actions. Prepare yourself and your organization. Remember the famous quote of Winston Churchill – “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”