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.