The old adage goes, “Brand reputation takes a long time to build and mere seconds to destroy.” Even keeping that in mind, too many companies make the mistake of approaching crisis communications with the mindset of, “that’s never going to happen to me or my company!” In thinking this way, individuals may be putting themselves and their entire company in a risky position.
While communicating in a crisis is not a one size fits all approach, there are a number of key principles that will be important as you move forward.
Respond quickly, but thoughtfully!
Bearing in mind the digital nature of communications, traditional media, and social media, bad news often spreads fast. The best way to approach this is to first assess the situation and realize that you might not end up with one final statement for the crisis. For example, you can begin with a preliminary statement to alert your audience that the situation is being addressed, offer an additional statement as more information is determined, and then a final statement to completely address all facets of what happened and, if necessary, the action you and your company are taking to tackle the issue.
Another note of caution: As you are working quickly and timing is important when dealing with crisis communication, be sure to have a version control process in place so that messages, statements, website copy, and other drafted items are moving forward properly with the correct edits from the appropriate parties involved. You don’t want to send an unedited or work-in-progress statement while conducting media outreach! Control the situation as much as possible by having a thoughtfully laid out escalation plan.
Think about any questions in advance and prepare for them as much as possible.
Do not allow one crisis to develop into a corporate communications nightmare because your team wasn’t equipped with every possible tool to reach your customers – that includes proactively thinking about what questions customers and audiences may have in advance, so you are equipped to respond appropriately.
It is also important to consider if communication will need to be adapted for various social media channels as you will want to make any necessary changes to character count or writing style to ensure the message best meets the audience. Additionally, if running paid social campaigns or Google Ads about the specific product in question, it’s a best practice to pause those activations while a crisis about said product is ongoing.
Assess your crisis communication afterwards.
While the same form of crisis will hopefully not happen again, it’s always important to learn from previous experiences to address what did and did not work so that any future marketing and communications during a crisis are improved.
Get your response group together after the crisis for a debrief and review of the plan. By going over what worked and didn’t work in a debrief, you can take notes and expand upon the plan so that your crisis communications materials are a living document you can improve upon as needed.
Interested in learning more about how lotus823 may be able to help you and your company? Contact our team today for a consultation.