How to manage a crisis
Crisis situations can strike any business or individual at any given moment, challenging their reputation and threatening their success. Whether it’s a product recall, a natural disaster, or a public scandal, the ability to communicate effectively can mean the difference between your survival or demise.
A well-crafted crisis communication plan and management strategy ensures organisations are prepared to navigate turbulent times, maintaining trust, protecting their reputation, and safeguarding their long-term viability. By understanding the vital role of a crisis communication plan and its ability to provide a roadmap during stressful moments, business leaders can confidently face adversity and emerge stronger on the other side.
When faced with a crisis, communications should touch on three essential phases that have proven success: Acknowledgement, Action, and Update.
This straightforward but in-depth framework has helped Adoni Media steer clients of all shapes, sizes, and industries through crises with their reputations and revenues intact. Read on to let us help you do the same.
Immediate and transparent communication is crucial when a crisis occurs. It is essential to inform your stakeholders about the situation as soon as possible.
When acknowledging the crisis:
Respond promptly to take control of the narrative. Delaying your response can result in loss of control over the flow of information and public perception. You only have 20 minutes to take charge of your messaging in a crisis so whatever you do don’t delay. Government agencies in Australia often have only 13 minutes to get their messages out. Speed in a crisis is the name of the game.
Show empathy and honesty:
Communicate from a place of understanding and concern for those affected by the crisis. Display empathy to acknowledge their situation and assure them that you are taking the matter seriously.
Provide initial details:
Share basic information about the nature of the crisis, its potential impact, and the immediate steps you are taking to address the situation. Avoid speculating or providing inaccurate information.
Choose the right channels:
Determine the appropriate channels to communicate with your stakeholders, which may include official media statements, website updates, social media posts, or direct emails. Consider the preferences and habits of your target audience to ensure effective reach.
Communicate the proactive measures you are taking or planning to take to resolve the crisis. This phase demonstrates your commitment to fixing the issue and protecting your stakeholders.
Consider the following:
Follow your Crisis Management Plan:
Refer to your pre-established Crisis Management Plan, which outlines the steps to be taken during a crisis. This plan should include actions specific to the type of crisis you are facing, such as engaging experts, initiating necessary procedures, and implementing preventive measures. Note that this is not just a crisis communications exercise. You should have a plan and procedure for mission critical crises so that everyone in your business knows what to do when the pressure’s on.
Explain the actions you are taking to address the crisis, mitigate its impact, and prevent similar incidents in the future. Assure your stakeholders you are committed to resolving the issue and minimising any potential harm.
Reassure safety measures:
Highlight any additional safety measures you are implementing to protect those affected and address any concerns they may have. This can help rebuild trust and confidence in your organisation’s ability to handle the situation.
Involve relevant authorities:
If necessary, mention the involvement of relevant authorities or experts to showcase your commitment to addressing the crisis and cooperating with appropriate parties.
Regular updates are vital to maintaining transparency and trust during a crisis. Keeping stakeholders informed about the progress made demonstrates your accountability and commitment.
Consider the following:
Establish a communication schedule to provide timely updates on how you are responding to the crisis, recovery efforts, and any new developments. Stick to the schedule to ensure consistency and to avoid leaving stakeholders in the dark.
Share relevant findings without compromising any ongoing legal or sensitive matters. This helps stakeholders understand the scope and impact of the crisis, as well as measures taken to resolve it and prevent future occurrences. While transparency is an uncomfortable part of this process, it is vital to maintain and, if necessary, rebuild trust with your customers and stakeholders as you solve the crisis.
Communicate the steps taken to mitigate the effects of a crisis on those affected, such as offering assistance, compensation, or alternative solutions. Show empathy and a commitment to making things right.
Addressing stakeholder concerns:
Actively listen to stakeholder feedback and address their concerns promptly. Encourage open communication channels, such as dedicated hotlines or email addresses, to allow stakeholders to seek clarification or share their experiences.
At Adoni Media, we have established ourselves as industry leaders in crisis communication management. With a deep understanding of the importance of timely responses, proactive measures, and transparent updates, we empower our clients to take control of the narrative, mitigate damage, and rebuild trust in the face of adversity.
Prepare for a crisis with media training.
Our rigorous media training program ensures that your executives and management are prepared for increased media scrutiny. This comprehensive, five-star reviewed media training education makes sure no one’s caught making, “No comment,” to national TV crews and instead sets you up with all the tools you need to move on and through the tricky work of communicating well in a crisis.
In a crisis, you’re likely to be exposed to more media scrutiny than ever before, and you’ll need to be prepared to face tough questions from journalists. The way a spokesperson responds in a crisis can radically change how your business is perceived, and in some cases, whether it survives.
“An effective spokesperson needs to be authentic, empathetic, and authoritative. They need to be able to perform under pressure to deliver key messages clearly and concisely while engaging the audience,” Adoni Media Founder and Managing Director, Leisa Goddard, said.
Media training sets up your spokesperson for success by giving them the confidence and practise they need to face the media. The only way to successfully manage a crisis is to prepare for it. Train your spokespeople, have a management plan ready, practise simulated exercises, and be honest and transparent if something goes wrong.
To learn more about how to best prepare your business to respond to a crisis, contact Adoni Media’s crisis management and media training experts for a free consultation.