The need for brands to be accessible 24/7 has created many opportunities for companies looking to connect with their customers or clients in a more meaningful way. Each year, we see new ways for brands to destroy themselves without even trying. When a crisis happens – and we all know it will – how are you prepared to deal with it?
There are three primary areas of failure during a crisis:
- Not getting ahead of the message
- Lack of transparency
- Disingenuous communications
For this article, Jeffrey Durosko, President and Founder of Jeff Durosko Communications, offered his insight into crisis communications and reputation management.
An Ounce of Prevention
According to Durosko, “The most important thing is to be prepared before a crisis occurs, with a good crisis plan and ongoing discussions and training. That way you’re never caught unaware when a crisis happens.”
Then, he said, when a crisis does occur, “make sure you follow procedures set forth.” Perhaps most important is ensuring the right person is sending the message – ideally, this should be the CEO or highest-ranking-official possible.
Durosko’s advice is to “have procedures laid out in advance” that can be adjusted according to “situational flexibility.”
Saying nothing at all is another top mistake, says Durosko. “When companies [or individuals] don’t take a situation seriously enough and avoid speaking to the media until after the media have taken control of the message,” then there’s really nowhere to go but down.
There are ways to control the message, says Durosko. Be “honest and forthright,” even though it may be difficult. Dursoko acknowledges there will be negativity from the media and public at first, but “if you are honest and show true concern and how you are going to avoid a bad situation in the future … you can come out of a crisis situation with more respect.”
What’s the bottom line? “Tell the truth, show and demonstrate genuine concern, and offer solutions,” says Durosko. “It’s how you react to the negativity that will determine your future reputation.”
Check out this post on how to develop a crisis communications plan for more information on this topic.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and reach out to us with questions. Special thanks to Jeff for sharing his time and wisdom for this article.