Why crisis communication needs to be prepared in advance?
As part of the general Public Relations strategy, Crisis Communication is tailored and planned to protect the reputation of an individual or a company, in times of public predicament. Broadly, it can be divided into two parts, anticipation and reaction, both with important roles to play in maintain a positive brand image.
Any company is vulnerable in a way, and crises can arrive even if an organization has the very best intentions. The way a crisis is managed makes the difference between a successful company and one on the way out because the days in which companies could avoid publicly talking about problems are gone.
Preparing for risky situations is crucial for every organization, and the communication aspect of the plan is one of the most important components. Communication should take into consideration both the internal and external factors and should focus on eliminating confusion and taming adverse reactions while emphasizing the steps taken towards resolving the problem.
In order to prepare efficiently for a crisis, a company should create lists with possible threats and detailed plans to address them. Even if the anticipated scenarios don’t actually happen and something different occurs, these roadmaps can be of great help in managing the crisis. There should also be a dedicated crisis team and spokespersons trained explicitly for such events, to proper deliver the key messages.
While no company ever wants to go through hard times, being prepared is essential and will help sustain a positive image, while also ensuring reduced overall costs. The general tactics for crisis response follow these lines: accepting responsibility, addressing the needs, empathizing with the concerned parties, devoting clear and visible efforts to finding a solution and presenting a plan to avoid similar situations in the future.
Times of crisis are tricky, especially now with information traveling by click-speed and misinformation being such a significant factor that influences perceptions. It is a consistent and constant effort to build brand recognition, and during crisis periods, it’s not only about the message a company sends, but also about how it is said, who says it, when, to whom audience and through what channels. This combination is the secret that can get a company out of trouble.
If crisis communication is done right, it sometimes can serve as an opportunity for businesses to further develop their relationships with communities and stakeholders, if they show responsibility and willingness to improve.
The reputation a company has is the most valuable asset and an integrated communication and public relations strategy can help maintain it undamaged. Proper preparation for sensitive scenarios will serve as a compass in times when panic might take over, so having a solid plan that includes all parties involved will definitely support any company in overcoming a difficult crisis situation.