Tips And Trends: Crisis Communication

April, 2010

In today’s fast-paced business world, crisis communication management is no longer a luxury – it is essential. Preparing for bad times is as critical as preparing for a product launch or new business initiative. Al and Laura Ries, in their book “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR,” say that focusing on corporate reputation and crisis management goes hand in hand with brand-building.

A few tips on how to ensure that your organization has the infrastructure to deal with a crisis:

  • Set up a task force & identify roles: The crisis communication task force should include a customer front-liner, a marketing leader and production or operational team leader. Roles should be clearly defined to allow for quick mobilization in case of a crisis.
  • Develop a strategy: Design a crisis communication strategy that is aligned with brand representation, customer strategy and reputation management.
  • Keep brand focus:Manage public perception by establishing and maintaining a clear and emphatic brand voice, and work to create positive publicity.
  • CEO, front and center:Top executives represent the brand, set the tone and build confidence in the company for employees, customers and media.
  • Involve employees: Employees in frequent contact with customers are on the front line of crisis management; they need to be given the tools to confront problems and contain escalation.
  • Communicate strategically:A clear communication strategy across all channels is the key to successful execution and resolutionThis includes engaging stakeholders and keeping them updated to create a two-way dialogue and build trust.
  • Consistency, credibility: Employees should get the same information as the company spokesperson.
  • Keep the end in sight: Think ahead to assess where the company wants to be when it returns to business as usual. Anticipate reactions by the media and others and be prepared to respond.
  • Focus on the customer: Crisis survival ultimately hinges on customer affiliation with the brand. Enhancing the customer-brand relationship will enable the company to not only survive, but thrive.


Original article:

Wahba, Dalia, “Crisis Communication 101: Developing an effective, strategic crisis plan is essential,”Business Monthly, November 2009, pp. 58-59.

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