The tragedy of Italy’s cruise ship Costa Concordia in January serves as another reminder for the need for strong crisis management plans.
Solid preparation, a coordinated team and a well thought through plan can make the difference in maintaining a company’s reputation during a crisis and in its aftermath.
It is not only the crisis period that is important – the preparations before and the evaluation after should receive attention when considering crisis communications.
Good crisis management can be planned according to the below key stages:
- Prevention: Actions to prevent a crisis
- Preparation: What you can do to be well prepared in a crisis
- Control: How you can control the crisis as much as possible
- Follow up & evaluation: What to do after the crisis to prevent future reoccurrence.
In case of a crisis, a ‘modus operandi’ should be agreed. Normally a crisis management team should meet as soon as possible, and then have regular meetings to agree appropriate actions and media responses to the situation. So vital information is not lost, a log of all resulting policy and actions should be made.
In case of a crisis, employees, the media, customers and the public want to have as much information as possible.
Some general external communication guidelines always apply in times of a crisis:
- Take the initiative
- Be open, be honest and be human
- Be careful and consistent with your information
- Personalise communication towards all your target groups
- Have a clear communications goal in mind
- Don’t forget internal communications
- Indicate the right frame of reference
- Find allies to support you.
In case of a media interview, some golden rules should be followed:
- Select your spokesperson carefully (don’t send the general to the battlefield first)
- If possible have an arrangement to check press information before it is published
- Have a tape running to record media interviews
- If possible, choose a place for interviews where you feel comfortable
- Have confident body language
- Think about an appropriate appearance and dress code
- Ensure your spoken word is measured, sincere and practical.
Pelican Communications are specialists in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.