The definition could well be: “Any event that threatens the reputation of a company, individual or brand, has the potential for negative publicity, takes an inordinate amount of management time and costs money”.
However, having worked with a number of companies who have been through a crisis of one sort or another, we are aware that many will have their own definitions of exactly what a crisis is. And there’s the first thing to remember; all crisis are different.
It is very useful to see how Johnson & Johnson handled their problems in the 80’s, how Exxon mishandled theirs in Alaska and the messages Ford gave over their tyre problem with Firestone and all this will all help to give you an initial insight into the complexities of Crisis Communication.
The advent of Social Networking has had an enormous impact on the response time from an organization in the public eye during a crisis, and we look at how Dominoes Pizza and US Air had to adapt quickly as events unfolded around them.
The characteristics of a crisis can be surprise, insufficient information and a loss of control resulting in intense scrutiny from the outside creating a siege mentality inside the corporation. Or maybe not… Your own crisis will have characteristics particular to your own situation.
One thing is for certain, however, you need to be able to communicate in a crisis and you need to have a team that decides what is said and done, how it is said and done, and when it is said and done. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
The idea is not to embarrass, but to educate the team. We do that through a series of scenarios with updates that changes the situation so that the team needs to confer on the best strategy and write the latest statement/release, Q&A, or whatever medium they feel most appropriate.
The One-Day Crisis Communication Workshop: It’s fun, hard work and gets your team thinking on its feet.