Crisis Communications – The Need for Speed
I’ll make this article quick… because it’s all about speed. In our digital age, news of a crisis spreads at a dizzying pace and people are demanding immediate responses from organizations. Tension between legal and communication departments can complicate and often stall a response. But minutes count in modern day crisis management and you can’t respond quickly and effectively if you’re not prepared.
The ousting of Roseanne Barr took less than 12 hours. On May 28th Roseanne sent a late-night, racist tweet. By morning there was massive backlash leading ABC leaders to issue strong statements and swiftly cancel her highly rated show. ABC responded quickly, got to frame the narrative and the leaders are being praised for doing the right thing.
On the other hand, Equifax became the poster child for how not to handle a data breach last year. Equifax waited six weeks to announce the massive data breach that affected 143 million customers and the CEO waited an additional 4 days to finally apologize and explain what changes the company was making to protect customers. Equifax stock dropped 35%, wiping out $6 billion of market value, and it still hasn’t fully recovered.
I have been busy these days leading crisis drills and simulations to prepare my clients to respond to a data breach, employee misconduct, natural disaster, careless tweet, damaging video-gone-viral and a host of other potential crises.
How we prepare:
Crisis Management Team
- We create a crisis management team with defined roles, prepared to deal with the crisis so others can focus on continuing to run the business.
Crisis Communications Playbook
- The team needs a crisis communications playbook that outlines a plan to deal with the most likely potential crises. Plans must be concise to be effective.
- We practice crisis drills to rehearse roles and stress test our plan. We practice key messages and simulate mock interviews, customer, employee and investor conversations, and social media responses.
Waiting until a crisis actually strikes to figure these things out is too late. Please reach out to discuss how your organization could be better prepared to respond to a crisis.