Understanding the common characteristics of a crisis and how to prepare for one
Bangkok, April 23rd, 2018 – At some point, a company, no matter how big or small or big, will face a crisis. Having a crisis communication plan helps to alleviate the impact of the crisis to a certain extent, but remember the plan needs to also be shared with the team. Having a mock crisis or simulations will also help your team prepare should an actual crisis strike.
The Institute for Public Relations defines a crisis as a significant threat to the brand and its operations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly. In crisis management, the threat is the potential damage a crisis can inflict on an organization, its stakeholders, and an industry. It can also be a decision, if not handled in an appropriate and timely manner, that can become a catastrophe. There are 3 related threats a crisis can create and these are public safety, financial loss and loss of credibility.
Here are some examples of the types of crisis.
- Product or service issue
- Natural disaster (environmental phenomena: flooding, tsunamis, drought, etc.)
- Technological crisis (software failures)
While every crisis is different, there are some common characteristics. Understanding the common characteristics of crises will help you develop a practical and reliable incident response plan for your business.
- Unexpected situation
- Confusion, friction, pressure and stress
- Urgent decisions are required
- There may be physical danger and this is your first priority
- Key staff and decision makers may be unavailable
Now that we have a clearer picture of what crisis is all about, the next question is, how do we better prepare for it? If you don’t have pre-prepared plan the situation can spiral out of control. Here are 5 basic steps of crisis communications which should be undertaken before any crisis occurs.
- Establish a crisis team
- Identify spokesperson
- Develop procedures and protocols
- Prepare to face your organization, media and stakeholders
- Prepare FAQ, develop statements and brainstorm on scenarios
Here are 10 things you SHOULD do during a crisis:
- Keep calm and do not get emotional.
- Gather the facts and prepare necessary documents.
- Be open and honest. Share the known facts and if some facts are not yet known, say so and explain what is happening to discover them.
- Show compassion and concern for any injured and aggrieved parties. If possible, contact them or their relatives before making public announcements,
- Offer practical help if possible through help-line or another emergency channels.
- Co-operate with investigators or authorities.
- Announce your spokesperson.
- Communicate clearly and consistently. Do not use jargon that will only confuse people
- Brief all your stakeholders so they know what is happening and what is being communicated to media.
- Issue regular updates and monitor media
And here are 5 things you should NOT do during a crisis:
- Do not speculate about events or causes. Do not go “Off the Record”.
- Do not avoid communication. Communicate internally and then externally. Note that the media will seek answers and find comment and opinions from elsewhere if you do not engage them.
- Do not speak ill of or blame any injured party.
- Do not put out contradictory messages. This will confuse media and public, both of who will not trust you and you will lose credibility. Such contradiction will also be subject to exploitation by reporters.
- Do not go on holiday! This is the time to send messages internally and externally and support your team.
It is also important to conduct a post-crisis analysis of what was done right or wrong during the crisis, what could be done better next time and how the crisis management team performed. Some questions to reflect on are (1) could the crisis be prevented? (20 at which point did we realize we were in crisis? Could we have recognized the signs earlier? And (3) what were the warning signals that were ignored?
If you are facing some crisis and are seeking support in implementing a crisis management plan in your company, call us at +662 105 4217. Our email address is email@example.com. We’ll advise you of the best strategy to take in dealing with these crisis situations to prevent another crisis from happening!
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Napaporn Sartjumroen at 099 258 4428 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Brand Now Co., Limited www.brandnow.asia T: +66 2 1054217