After observing crises over the past four weeks, a few concepts that ring true time and time again are the following:
– communication has to be mutual to be most effective
– establishing a good connection before a crisis helps prevent one
– react as quickly as possible, even if details aren’t all there
– do the right thing: apologize
I think organizations sometimes have the same problems relationships between two people have- sometimes it’s hard to admit we’re wrong but it has to be done. An apology needs to be issued and not just to save face but to show understanding of the prior actions and make an effort to change behavior in the future.
There is one more strategy that I believe should be focused on in crisis communication: Instant connection. I may sound like a record repeating this in all of my crisis blogs but it’s never been truer than now. More than half of the controversies are brought to attention through online posting. A tactic to ensure this is achieved would be to research every area of your industry- online. This includes blogs, social media, forums, digital magazines, and informational websites.
It might be hard to be the one responding to angry masses, but someone needs to make sure it’s done. They may not excuse you, but they might accept it when you take responsibility, even if the fault isn’t your own.