Everybody loves a crisis don’t they? Whilst a lot of people thrive in a crisis, in reality they are business events companies should actively strive to avoid. While trying to avoid crises should obviously be the priority, planning on how to react when the unexpected happens is crucial.
If you are in communications, no matter what cupboard you try to hide in, the reality is that you can guarantee that at some point you will be involved in a crisis project.
From industrial disputes to workplace incidents the communications department will surely be among the first to be asked to step in to the firing line when it comes to communicating to the press!
Fail to plan; plan to fail!
The above statement is certainly true in a lot of company cases. You see what actually happens is that a negative incident or event occurs. The senior management team thinks that it may get some sort of press attention either locally or nationally. They then run round like headless chickens trying to respond to press enquiries!
Being unprepared could potentially damage the company’s reputation, brand, and share price. This is not just bad business practice; it is often tantamount to career suicide.
There can be no doubt that when a crisis occurs it has some sort of cost, whether this is human or asset. Most crises are unfortunate and if it had been possible then they would have been avoided. However the company needs to protect its reputation whilst sympathising with the individuals that have suffered because of the situation. If unsympathetic the organisation can, and often does, come across as the big bad wolf.
BP has been vilified for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. More than two years on from the original disaster the company is still paying – both in terms of fines, liabilities and reputation damage.
Even a ‘simple product recall’ knocked billions of dollars off Toyota’s share price, reduced its sales growth due to a collapse in customer confidence and diminished the value of the brand as a whole.
So how does a company handle a crisis situation? Quite simple – plan for them! You may be an organisation that will spend of all of its existence without any crisis at all. But maybe, just maybe, one day it will happen to you. When it does, it helps to have a plan.
Download our Free eBook to learn about our eight rules of crisis management.
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