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Blog post
January 18, 2023

The importance of responding to a crisis

In times of crisis, a leader’s response and actions often play a pivotal role in shaping the outcome. The initial hours following a crisis event can be tumultuous, marked by high uncertainty. Your organisation’s response speed during this period can either mitigate damage or impede recovery, underscoring the significance of effective crisis management through stable leadership.

Three key elements of crisis management response

When responding to crisis, the three key elements to have are: 

1. Speed

2. Accuracy

3. Consistency

Responding promptly and adeptly empowers your organisation to guide the narrative surrounding the incident. A proficient communication team ensures conveying key messages to stakeholders in a clear and impactful manner. Concise communication is vital; vagueness may inadvertently project an intent to conceal information. Especially during crises, organisational leaders face unique challenges, requiring them to promptly and accurately present their perspectives to stakeholders.

In scenarios of high-profile crises, there arises a heightened likelihood for organisational leaders or spokespersons to engage with the media. In such instances, the spokesperson’s mastery of the message’s content and consistency throughout the crisis duration becomes paramount.When engaging with stakeholders, maintaining a composed and assured demeanour is crucial. This empathetic approach defuses tensions and reflects a genuine commitment to resolution. Conversely, anxiety or a lack of direct eye contact during media interactions erodes confidence and authenticity.

The Significance of Crisis Management

The initial crisis phase is pivotal in terms of response time. Contemporary dynamics, influenced by social platforms, involve conversations rife with misinformation and erroneous narratives. Thus, an incident response plan rooted in social media engagement assumes immense importance. Without it, a crisis can be exploited as an avenue to tarnish your organisation.

Accurate information dissemination is crucial in crisis situations. People seek precision regarding the incident’s implications for them. Time constraints may foster inaccuracies, potentially branding your organisation as inconsistent. Designating specific spokespersons to convey a singular message is a strategy to maintain accuracy.Consistency in messaging holds the key to asserting control over the situation. Consistency commences by discerning truths from falsehoods. Internally cascading the message empowers your team to echo the same externally, if necessary.

The Essence of a Crisis Management Strategy

Instances abound of organisations lacking a crisis management strategy which compromises their brand, and high-profile leaders’ absence during critical junctures and tardy responses yield undesirable outcomes.

A crisis management strategy identifies and addresses potential risks and disasters. It facilitates the formulation of a rapid, effective action plan.

Such a strategy guides responses to public and media inquiries. A comprehensive crisis management approach mitigates potential crisis impacts and ensures the well-being of employees, customers, and stakeholders.

Developing a crisis management strategy entails numerous considerations. From media monitoring and analysing consumer discourse on social platforms to liaising with appropriate journalists, these variables shape your strategy.For insights into integrating audience intelligence into your plans, delve into the 7 crucial facets of crisis management strategy detailed here

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In the rapidly changing landscape of crisis management, one principle stands out as the North Star: authentic leadership. As technology's trajectory accelerates, consider the future of audience intelligence and its role. How will it redefine leadership strategies in times of upheaval? This evolving intelligence offers insights that can recalibrate authenticity and responsiveness, aligning leaders more closely with stakeholder expectations.

While work culture evolves, it's crucial to ask: Have crisis management processes evolved in parallel? In the palms of audiences rests not just a smartphone, but your brand’s narrative and mission. Navigating a perpetually open, ever-changing, always-connected environment demands a unique approach to crisis management. In this context, authentic leadership emerges as a linchpin, ensuring that messages resonate as genuine and align harmoniously with overarching company objectives.

Understanding Your Audience Amidst Crisis

Isentia, in collaboration with communication experts and leaders, dissects the evolution of communication processes during crises and the intricate connections across volatile social media platforms. Watch the video to glean insights from our expert panel!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoP1Nk45l4E

Navigating a crisis demands a profound understanding of your audience. Amidst the turbulence, grasping their sentiments, concerns, and expectations becomes paramount. This is where the value of incorporating audience intelligence shines. By harnessing data-driven insights and real-time feedback, you can tailor your communication strategies to resonate authentically, fostering trust and connection. In times of uncertainty, audience intelligence empowers you to pivot swiftly, ensuring your responses align with the evolving needs of those you serve. Journey deeper into the territory of authentic communication and its formidable influence during a crisis.

Unveiling Authenticity Amidst Crisis

High-profile leaders teach us a profound lesson: Beyond strategy and action, presence and authenticity bear real significance, instilling belief in every move. The nurturing of these traits extends far beyond moments of crisis.

Consider this: A swift response to a crisis is undeniably important, yet projecting authenticity within that response, informed by audience intelligence, holds equal weight. By utilising audience intelligence in a response strategy, organisations and leaders have the opportunity to listen to the most concerned and influential stakeholders. Stakeholder input shines a light on whether the organisation is being authentic or not, and where potential gaps could be filled.  Communicating with authentic language resonates deeply, showcasing a level of compassion that marks a true leader. In our previously published Leadership Index: Leading through Crisis, our expert Insights team meticulously dissects the authenticity of four high-profile leaders, unveiling how the authenticity of their actions shapes the outcomes of their respective crises.

Three Pillars of Authentic Leadership

Emotional Authenticity: An authentic leader embraces self-awareness, impartially acknowledging strengths and weaknesses. They cultivate compassion and humility, transmitting it to others.

Behavioural Authenticity: Guided by personal principles, an authentic and empathetic leader paves the way for change while retaining control. Thoughtfully chosen words and actions resonate deeply with the affected audience.

Social Authenticity: Building an authentically kind and caring organisation, fostering inclusivity and a fluid identity that mirrors the evolving landscape – these principles intertwine to form a coherent, authentic entity.

Leadership in Crisis: A Test of Character

Leaders face an immense test of character during times of crisis. A comprehensive understanding of crisis risks and well-calibrated actions can differentiate between sinking and sailing through turbulent waters. Authenticity takes centre stage, distinguishing an average leader from an exceptional one. It holds the power to steer crises towards constructive resolutions.

Authentic leaders embody self-awareness, recognising their strengths, limitations, and emotions. They lead from their heart, not just their minds. While direct communication is vital, empathy is its essential companion, especially in the midst of a crisis involving loss of life.

Calm, composed and strategic responses to a crisis convey authenticity and foster unity among the affected. Conversely, defensive or detached responses breed evasion, undermining trust and credibility.

Isentia's suite of services empowers PR and communications professionals to establish authentic leadership, especially in crisis situations. Through real-time media monitoring, professionals gain insights into public sentiment, allowing them to craft timely and empathetic responses that resonate with the leader's authentic voice. Isentia's crisis communication tools enable proactive management by identifying emerging crises and tracking stakeholder reactions, ensuring leaders communicate transparently and empathetically. It also allows for accurate identification of where your messaging is best placed to reach your audiences. This data-driven approach fosters trust and credibility, helping leaders navigate crises while maintaining authenticity.

Elevate your leadership's authenticity today with Isentia's data-driven approach, fostering trust and credibility in the face of challenges.

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Blog
Authentic Leadership in Crisis Management: Navigating Challenges with Integrity

In this crisis management blog series we have looked at different leadership profiles based on their media coverage. From disruptive leaders that charge ahead and promote themselves along with their brand, to corporate leaders who are hesitant to build this kind of profile and instead promote a company wide view.

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CRISIS
noun, plural cri·ses [krahy-seez] /ˈkraɪ siz/
a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

It’s a topic hot on the lips of many, but if you’re a communications professional you know the power a crisis can hold to make or break a business, career or the 24-hour news cycle. Almost everyone has a story, and having been in the industry for over three decades we understand that communications professionals typically live at the centre of these experiences and can often influence or shape the outcome.

While Chatham House Rules applied, we recently held some exclusive crisis events in support of better crisis management and wanted to share some of the notes from our expert panel, for what can be the most defining moment as a professional.

  • Own it! Be authentic, honest and open with your stakeholders – both internally and externally.
  • If you’ve made a mistake, apologise – don’t make excuses. There’s nothing more damaging for your reputation than not acknowledging you’ve made a mistake. While it’s not great to fail, it’s even worse when you don’t fess up.
  • Know your organisation’s key risks and audit them regularly. It is impossible to ensure you’re prepared for a crisis if you aren’t aware and immersed in the finer details. Is your team ready to manage a serious consumer issue if it were to go viral on social?
  • Ensure you have operations and communications plans in place to deal with these risks – even better, have a dedicated crisis response team (and protocols in place) really to go when you need it most. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to contact people when the chaos has already begun.
  • Identify your key subject matter experts and spokespeople to represent your organisation and test and approve each of their potential key messages – why not consider running a simulation for your executive and communications teams to take it to the next level?
  • Have a plan in place to deal with (and respond to) national and international media interest, including 24-hour access to strategic communications counsel and traditional and social media monitoring. Set up a crisis plan with Isentia so you can urgently engage the team when you need us most.
  • Have a strategy or ‘reputation recovery program’ in place to restore and build on your organisation’s reputation after a crisis. Your business is going to need some quick wins, so make sure you’ve prepared some simple initiatives that can work to restore your stakeholder’s faith and sweeten the sour taste in people's mouths.

Dealing with a crisis is stressful at the best of times, but when you need the support to know what is being covered and where, we’re here to support you! For more information on how your organisation can be better prepared for a crisis, contact us now, or reach out to your Account Management team.

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Blog
Are you ready to deal with a crisis?

It’s a topic hot on the lips of many, but if you’re a communications professional you know the power a crisis can hold to make or break a business, career or the 24-hour news cycle.

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Scoot, a low-cost carrier

Scoot, a low-cost carrier that provides flights predominantly within Asia, faced seven major flight delays in the last few months of 2018

Technical issues caused 356 passengers on the affected flight to be stranded in Taipei for almost two days. Replacement parts had to be flown in from overseas, causing serious delays.

This whitepaper uses Scoot’s TR899 flight delay as a case study to explore media conversations surrounding the incident.

We discuss service recovery, crisis management, PR approaches, and how the lack of communication leads to potential consequences.

Download the whitepaper here.

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Whitepaper
How media comes into play in times of crisis

Scoot, a low-cost carrier that provides flights predominantly within Asia, faced seven major flight delays in the last few months of 2018. Find out media conversations surrounding the incident, Scoot’s approach to service recovery, and sentiments towards their approach.

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How does your organisation manage media during a crisis?

Every organisation is likely to encounter a reputational issue or crisis at some point in their lifetime, and in the world of media and communications it’s important to ensure you are prepared.

When you’re in the midst of a crisis, it’s critical to keep your finger on the pulse of all media channels to combat and address statements as they emerge.

This shouldn’t just start when the issue breaks.

In order to effectively respond, it’s important to have planned and prepared processes in place, and a prompt team to mobilise.

Want to learn more about the value of managing media pre, during and post crisis? Download our whitepaper or get in touch with our team to discuss your needs.

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Whitepaper
Managing media during a crisis

Every organisation is likely to encounter a reputational issue or crisis at some point in their lifetime, and in the world of media and communications it’s important to ensure you are prepared. Our whitepaper can assist you understanding the value of media intelligence pre, during and post crisis.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or request a demo.