To Survive A Crisis Implement An Effective Communications Strategy

June 17, 2016

In Order To Suvive A Crisis A Company Must Have An Effective Communications Strategy

The principle focus of any crisis management strategy, especially in an international contest, is communications.  All crisis management plans call for effective crisis communications, which many times are not always executed. Inadequate or failed communications lead to bad publicity, unhappy stakeholders, and potential disaster. An effective crisis communication strategy is necessary for any international crisis.  It should be noted that a number of companies failed to defuse an international crisis because of poor communications.

An ineffective crisis response caused by a failed communications strategy can significantly harm a company’s reputation, operations, and even its position in the marketplace. Whether a company survives a crisis or not is determined less by the severity of the impact than the response to the crisis.  A company that responds effectively with a clear communications strategy will not only survive but find that its reputation has been enhanced.  A company that does not respond with a clear communication strategy may not survive.

Look at some of the crisis in the past which were not defused properly because of a lack of attention to communication- Toyota, perhaps being one of the more recent. Though Toyota spent time and money to find out the issue surrounding the brake issue, its failure to communicate in a timely fashion lost the goodwill of many customers and hurt the brand.

An effective crisis communication strategy is necessary when dealing with an international crisis.     In order to implement an effective crisis communication strategy, a number of processes must be implemented such as::

  • Creation of the crisis communication team.
  • Identify key spokespersons who will speak for the organization. Who are they? What are their roles?
  • Training on cultural issues, if the crisis involves other cultures.
  • Establishment of communication procedures and protocols. Who communicates to whom and why?
  • Identify key messages to communicate to key stakeholders and groups.
  • Has a budget been approved for the crisis?
  • Have the facts surrounding the crisis been established?
  • How will the company use social media?
  • Identify third party consultants that can add value to the communication and PR process- whether it is a PR Communications firm or a third party company.
  • Has a communications war room been set up to handle communications?

Though companies try and resolve the crisis at hand and spend significant sums of money to do so, if they fail to properly communicate to the media and the public, they in effect have lost and can expect outrage and consumer dissatisfaction to such an extent that the very existence of the company can be threatened. This is particularly true for cross boarder crisis as the failure to manage international communications can lead to cultural issues which play out in the press or on social media.    So remember, a company doing business internationally has to plan for an eventual crisis which may pose a potential threat to the company.  If it fails to handle communications properly, it faces not only a potential loss of business but a negative impact on its brand and reputation.

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