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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Crisis Communication 2 of 3

For Part two of this article I will address first steps after the crisis hits.

You have created your crisis communication plan and designated your spokesperson. You know where to reach key corporate messaging and who to contact. You feel fairly prepared but once a crisis hits, time is of the essence. The first statements that you make will determine how your organization is viewed and whether you come through the event a winner or a loser.

BOOM! Crisis Hits:

1) Do not hide from the media. If the event is important enough for them to cover it will only make you look worse not to acknowledge it.

a. Have your spokesperson acknowledge that there is a problem. If some one or something was effected by it, admit it and say that you will remedy the situation
b. If you don’t have enough information to address the problem, let the media know that you are aware of the problem, you are looking into it and you will keep everyone abreast of developments.

2) Explain what happened and how: Once you have the details of what happened, give the media a brief explanation. Explain why it happened and that are committed to putting safeguards in place to prevent a recurrence.

3) Apologize and offer to fix the problem: I think this is one of the most difficult and most important steps. This will determine how the public remembers you.
a. Take full responsibility
b. Give specific actions you will take prevent a recurrence
c. Aside from just putting internal safeguards in place, also offer to help the victims if there are any. Donate to a charity, set up a fund but be sincere.

Next week I will write about managing the after effect of a crisis and report on the PRSA Core Training on Crisis Communications. I hope to see you there!