The world in which we live is unpredictable, to say the least. 

Businesses, organisations and even individuals are all vulnerable to issues which may lurk in the shadows or around corners. Some of these crises are natural while some are very definitely man-made, but they can strike at any time and with them put reputations and livelihoods on the line.

It’s this time when the importance of a well-crafted and thorough crisis communications strategy cannot be overstated.

Maintaining trust and credibility

Crisis communications is all about preserving the trust and credibility of the business, organisation or person in question when it looks like it is in danger of slipping away. 

When a crisis hits, the stakeholders in question – such as customers, employees, investors and members of the public – look to the subject of the crisis for guidance and reassurance. 

A good crisis comms plan addresses concerns quickly, with accurate information, and demonstrates transparency. This maintains the trust that the affected party has built over time, even in the face of adversity.

Timely, accurate information is key

There’s a very famous saying: “A lie can spread halfway around the world before the truth has even put its boots on.” The same applies to crisis comms. Misinformation can spread extremely quickly and has the potential to cause confusion and panic.

A robust crisis comms strategy makes sure that accurate information is issued promptly. Doing this helps manage the impact of the crisis and prevents the escalation of rumours and false narrative. Timeliness is vital if you are to keep control of what is being said about the subject, while at the same time guiding stakeholders through the situation with a sense of understanding and control. 

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Managing your reputation

Crises can tarnish even the squeakiest of clean reputations. A well-thought-out crisis comms strategy acts as a shield to the reputation of the party in question. 

The strategy must proactively address the crisis, acknowledge any mistakes which have been made and outline any corrective actions which can mitigate damage to the affected party’s image. 

There might even be the possibility of the current, negative situation being turned into an opportunity to demonstrate resilience, responsibility and a commitment to improvement. 

Legal and regulatory compliance

A crisis can often bring with it legal and regulatory implications. Your crisis comms plan needs to focus on the business, organisation or individual and their compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Having this framework in place helps those affected navigate a complex legal landscape and avoid any pitfalls which might arise in the aftermath of the crisis. 

Employee morale and confidence

Crisis management isn’t just about calming those on the outside of the tent looking in. It’s also about looking after your internal teams’ morale and confidence in you, their employer. 

Your plan should keep employees informed about what is happening while providing reassurance and a sense of direction. Transparently outlining the steps taken to deal with the crisis helps an organisation foster a united front and keeps its workforce loyal and committed. 

Rise up or sink?

A robust crisis communications plan is no longer a luxury. In today’s world, it’s a necessity. Whatever crisis you face as a business, an organisation or an individual, communicating about it effectively can be the difference between weathering the storm or being sunk by it. 

Prioritising the development and implementation of a crisis comms plan will not only safeguard the reputation of what you’re trying to protect, but demonstrate your commitment to transparency, responsibility and the wellbeing of your stakeholders.

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