1) Be prepared
Now is the time to prepare. Start by mapping out the greatest risks that your organisation faces. Which ones could be the most damaging? Do you have pre-prepared messages for those risks? Do you have pre-prepared graphics stored in an accessible location? Perhaps most importantly: could you respond at 11pm on a Friday in mid-August?
2) Be timely
Online crises move quickly and so should you. It is important that you assert yourself as the point of authority. However don’t hurry into publishing a statement without verifying information. Not sure that you know your misinformation from your disinformation? Have a look at our handy guide to spotting different types of fake news.
3) Be consistent
Your response should be consistent and in line with your values. If your tone of voice can’t get away with a response like KFC’s then don’t do it. Your audience engage with you because of who you are – a crisis is not the time to abandon that. Similarly, don’t abandon any audiences and channels. Don’t post a statement on your website but provide nothing for your Facebook audience.
4) Be audience-focused
Crisis communications is like any other form of communication. Know your stakeholders and where they engage with your organisation. Don’t fall into the same trap as Boeing – you might normally be a B2B company but you still need to know how to communicate with potential customers. Don’t use complicated corporate speak but use the same language as your audience. Their questions and language should be informing your statement.
5) Be reflective
When the dust has settled you should try and recover and learn from a crisis. It is mentally and physically exhausting to be at the frontline. Take the time to recuperate and then adapt your crisis plan in line with what went right and what went wrong.
Find out more about our crisis and customer care training and simulations.