How to make a crisis a ‘blessing in disguise’ – SBI
- Four Golden Rules of Crisis Communications
As an image maker and even as a business owner, a crisis is inevitable says Rotimi Bankole, CEO, SBI Media. However, this seemingly offensive or unpalatable situation can be turned around in the interest of the company. In the agency’s recent weekly newsletter, NextGen, the CEO explains that certain risk factors bring about a crisis. You can only try to mitigate the after effect.
“In times of crisis, communication has been seen as one of the most potent tools that can diffuse tensions, shape opinions and if well done can bring about some level of confidence and restoration”.
Many clients want to be in control to determine who says what, how, when and where. While some would keep mute and allow the media and public opinion to dictate the narrative. The former ends up complicating the matter with a loss of credibility and image laundering campaigns. The former will be left with a battered image, loss of revenue and vicious litigations.
However, it has been proven over time that both the former and the latter often complicate the matter. However, no matter the approach you take, here are four golden rules of crisis communication strategies that can you help out:
*Be the first to know: Every serious organisation must put in place an intelligence system that must be able to forecast risks of crisis. For example, if you depend on your website to run your business, you must foresee a hack or a denial of service attack that can put you out of business for some minutes or longer. It makes you battle ready to tackle any crisis thereafter.
*Be the first to talk: Once a problem occurs, you must be the first party to say something. Should you allow the media to get hold of the information before you, you will not be able to control the narrative. You be rendered defensive and many doubts will becloud your explanations. P.S You can only obey this rule if the first is adhered to.
*Be truthful as possible: You do not need to be evasive on obvious facts. Be straightforward with your customers/clients/public. While there some things that might not be made public for security, trade secret or investigative purposes; state clearly why you can not reveal certain facts or comment on some aspects of the matter. Do not send out a templated information and expect a less negative coverage of the matter.
*Be the last to talk: After you have explained what happened and steps you are taking to resolve the crisis, the media will swing into action to colour your statements with many analysis, interpretations, and conjectures. Do not fret, you are now in control. All articles, videos and opinions are taking their form and shape from your own narrative. Once the news feeds slows down, you can do a follow-up release to either bring closure to the matter or give further updates. This will give your full control of the narrative from beginning to the end.
These rules are not fool-proof, but they are very useful should you want to make every crisis a ‘blessing in disguise’.
Additional report courtesy: www.sbimedia.com.ng