Crisis Communications is critical in effective crisis management, the systematic approach to deal with circumstances that could significantly impact the operations of an organisation.
Crisis communication and crisis management
It is relevant to make a clear distinction between the interaction between those involved in managing the crisis on the one hand and the communications about the crisis and the management of the crisis to all relevant stakeholders on the other hand. This paragraph focuses on the latter.
In order to manage a crisis as good as possible, it is important to provide as much clarity as possible to avoid speculations and misinterpretations that could easily cause additional damage to the company and its reputation. It is recommended to provide all stakeholders with updates on a regular basis. Attention should be given to the following critical elements;
Potentially conflicting interest of different stakeholders
The pressure of unexpected events could create a strong focus on the primarily involved stakeholders. Nevertheless the impact of the events, measures and communications on other (indirectly involved) stakeholders, should always be taken into account.
Making information available as soon as possible
However tempting it may seem, it is highly imprudent to try to hide certain information. One of the certainties of a crisis is that all relevant events will become public sooner or later. And in order to avoid unnecessary duration of the crisis and to keep as much control over the messaging as possible, it is critical to be able to take all relevant information into account when defining the communications approach and messaging.
Complying with all applicable rules and regulation
A crisis could confront an organisation with regulators that are nopt part of the traditional set of stakeholders. It is relevant to ensure full compliance with the new rules these regulators apply. Furthermore all existing rules and regulations remain applicable.
A crisis always happens unexpectedly. Nevertheless: preparation – for the unexpected - is key. Do make sure that the relevant IR and communications officers are aware of the existing crisis plans and that the role of communications is clear and well understood to all involved parties.