During a crisis, how a leader responds and behaves can often determine the outcome. The first few hours after a crisis or event can be chaotic. It’s a time of high uncertainty and the response rate from your organisation can either help minimise damage or hinder your crisis recovery. This is where a stable leadership highlights the importance of crisis management.
Three key elements of crisis management response
When responding to crisis, the three key elements to have are:
Responding quickly and effectively enables your organisation to control the narrative around the incident. Having a strong communications team will ensure the key messages are appropriately communicated to your stakeholders in a simple and effective way.
If there’s lack of clarity with the messaging, your organisation may come across as being purposefully confusing in order to hide information. So be sure to be succinct with your communications and message. Leaders of an organisation face unique challenges and during a crisis they require presenting their point of view to stakeholders quickly and accurately.
In the instance of a high profile crisis, there are more potential opportunities for the leader or the spokespeople of your organisation to be present in the media. If this occurs, the spokesperson should ensure they are confident with their messaging and it’s consistent for the duration of the crisis.
It is crucial that there is a calm and confident demeanour when communicating with stakeholders. This empathetic approach will ease tensions and shows a genuine drive to resolve the issue. If there is nervous energy or lack of eye contact in a media conference or interview it does not foster confidence and lacks authenticity.
The importance of managing a crisis
The initial period of a crisis is crucial for response time. Today, these hours are driven by social channels, where conversations are being had with inaccurate information and the wrong narrative being told. This is why a social-centric incident response plan is extremely important when a crisis hits. Otherwise, this could be used as an opportunity to attack your organisation.
Accuracy during a crisis is important. People want accurate information about the incident and how it may affect them. Due to the time pressure, there is a risk of inaccurate information. This could lead to your organisation to be seen as inconsistent. Having nominated spokespeople speak one message for the crisis is a way to maintain accuracy.
Delivering a consistent message is instrumental to maintaining control of the situation. A consistent message begins with separating truths from misinformation. Sharing the message internally, ensures members of your organisations can repeat the same message externally if required.
The importance of a crisis management strategy
We see all too often in times of crisis, organisations not having a crisis management strategy in place which causes a negative impact on their brand. High-profile leaders not being present when they should be and slow response time will lead to undesirable outcomes.
A crisis management strategy identifies and responds to potential risks and disasters. It also helps them develop a plan of action to address the situation quickly and effectively.
In addition, a crisis management strategy can provide guidance on how to respond to inquiries from the public and media. Having a comprehensive crisis management strategy in place can help organisations minimize the potential impact of a crisis and ensure the safety of their employees, customers and stakeholders.
There are many things to consider when developing a crisis management strategy. From monitoring what the media says, to looking out what consumers are discussing in social media, or even contacting the right journalists, these factors will affect your strategy.
Find out how audience intelligence can help in your plans, you can read more about the 7 things to consider for your crisis management strategy here.