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A blueprint for effective crisis communication

 02 Mar 2017  BoringBrands Blog

Crisis

Continuing our efforts to create an interactive and learning working milieu, where we believe in the philosophy of ‘sharing is caring’, team BoringBrands kick-started its Tuesday morning with a discussion on the ‘how and why of crisis communication’ and what are the basic commandments for brands to approach it in order to bounce back successfully in the game.

The discussion started by acknowledging the elephant in the room – a crisis can happen to any and every company/brand, and it is important to be prepared, rather than wait for it to die out eventually. The team discussed various infamous incidents- from Nestle’s Maggie fiasco to the recent Tata management scuffle and LeEco’s social-media-dominated screen defect sneer.

While all brands and organizations have faced quite different situations and have implemented their own individual best way to turn these around, here are the basic steps of crisis communication, as per team BoringBrands, that can help organizations be better prepared for any crisis:

Foresee a crisis

Somebody rightly said, ‘Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.’ This has become particularly true in today’s time where social media and internet dominates our life. Therefore, for a brand, there’s nothing like being proactive and get ready for what can come your way.

Discover your Crisis Communication team 

If you think that having a corporate and a PR team at place can suffice a need during the crisis, you might need to think again. It is imperative for an organization to identify a small team of senior executives who could serve as the organization’s crisis communications team. The team should ensure that all the other important teams- advertising, sales, marketing, et al- are in tandem on what information to disseminate and how to convey it.

Start with a plan

The basics of entering a battlefield are to have a short- and-long term plan handy. Similarly, for a crisis communication, it is ideal to have a plan before you start working on it. A short-term plan could be something to bring the situation, at hand, under control by simply refuting the blame, while long-term is normally used for a comeback.

For instance, Maggie resorted to focusing on human touch to stage its comeback. The brand relied on highlighting its 42 years of legacy and how they share a special place in consumers’ life.

Monitor all channels

Reach out to your internal and external stakeholders through all the possible channels. They could prefer social media, traditional media, mail or anything. They are throwing a lot of hints and information on these channels and it’s important to gather this intelligence to both prevent and respond to a crisis.

Knowing what’s being said about you on these platforms by your employees, customers, and other stakeholders often allows you to catch a negative ‘trend’ that, if unchecked, turns into a crisis.

Know your stakeholders

Identify your stakeholders and try to communicate to them in a language they will understand. You cannot choose one strategy and fit it for everyone. There will be different way to communicate with your consumers, business and of course media.

Post-crisis analysis

Even after the situation gets under control, a brand and company must keep on putting a positive word around for the next three to six months, depending on the gravity of the situation.

Lastly, there must be a formal analysis of what was done right, what was done wrong and what could be done better next time to appear better prepared for a situation like that.

Have more tips to share?