A crisis is fluid, evolving and fast-moving. The advent of social media and 24-hour news has reduced response times even further. This can be overwhelming, particular when considering your crisis response, from gathering arguments, informing stakeholders and employees, to assessing legal implications and evaluating business implications. It’s self-evident that preparedness will buy valuable time, as a great deal of the thinking has been done, and sufficient response processes put in place.
Ensure basic arguments and messaging are distilled via sufficient stress-testing. For some, particularly marketing professionals, this can be a brand challenge requiring resistance against the urge to be expansive and reduce messages, and in turn park straplines and brand values. Then consider delivery. Anyone who has undergone media training knows there is no substitute for practice. It’s about training and practice – with a focus on understanding the media and conveying information in the most effective way.
Every message, statement or point needs to be provable, supportable and (preferably) endorsed by a third party. Audits are a great way of assessing preparedness and ensuring facts and information is thorough and wide-ranging:
Third-party endorsement – direct or indirect – is much more powerful than first-person claims. This can be from relevant associations, professional bodies, regulatory bodies and suppliers, or partners such as charities, responsible business organisations and CSR partners. The latter help provide a broader perspective and play an important role in the reputation rebuilding process. Ultimately, the company you keep needs thinking through and planning ahead of time to enable your response to be both deep and broad.