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Any company can suffer a communication crisis. Usually it is not the incident itself that creates the biggest mess. It's how you handle the communication around it that is crucial. The crisis can arise for a variety of reasons: it could be a workplace accident, it could be linked to the economy, the environment or a lost deal. It could be about a crime committed or a conflict.

After a crisis, you can start working to minimize the damage. You react to what happened and do your best to restore what was. Being late to the game does not send a good signal.

Then it is better to react when it happens, to take quick action, to find out what happened and to develop an action plan. But even that is not optimal.

Of course, it is best to be prepared even before something happens. You have done your risk analysis and know what can happen. You have calmly thought through different scenarios and how you should act in the best possible way. It is good to know who your friends are before the wind starts blowing. It is wise to keep an eye on industry organizations, researchers, journalists, politicians and suppliers. How will our competitors act? Will they take advantage of the situation?

What should you consider when preparing for a crisis?

Here are some key points

  1. Conduct a thorough risk analysis. This is where it all starts, different situations require different actions.
  2. Designate a team with a clear division of roles. Some crises require a high level of 24/7 availability and there must be substitutes ready to help. All areas of expertise should be covered. Make sure there is an internal communication channel that everyone is aware of.
  3. Develop checklists and contact lists.
  4. Gather basic facts, because once it happens, time is short. There should be texts about the company, processes, raw materials and key people.
  5. Make sure the moral compass is pointing in the right direction. Life and health are always more important than machines and buildings. In the heat of the moment, stress can affect judgment.
  6. Log everything that happens very carefully. This is partly because there may be repercussions, there may be legal proceedings and there may be unfavorable writings. But it is also important to keep a log to evaluate and learn from what has happened.

What should you avoid?

  • The first thing that comes to mind is: don't lie. Period.
  • Do not be vague or unclear.
  • Do not send double signals, chain of command is important!
  • Do not blame others.
  • Do not speculate.
  • Don't be cocky or overconfident. Anything can happen.

Acting quickly and decisively shows that you intend to resolve the situation in the best possible way. It builds trust. It reduces the risk of speculation, whether in the media or somewhere online. Disinformation aimed at damaging companies and organizations is unfortunately something we will have to live with.

Need help with crisis communication?

If you want our help in preparing for a potential crisis and developing a crisis communication plan, get in touch. We also act as a sounding board when it happens and can contribute with an outside perspective and by keeping a cool head.

Contact us