Crisis Management in the Digital Age (Part 1 of 2)
What happens when a labor dispute turns into a riot? What if there are serious casualties and your organization is taking the heat for poor security planning? In this social-media driven world, legitimate information needs immediate dissemination. The messages must be succinct and cohesive for multiple constituents to understand and respond quickly. Missing in action or saying “no comment” is corporate suicide. We can all learn from the slow and insensitive responses from BP’s Tony Hayward after the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Globally criticized for “wanting his life back” during one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, we will always remember his first response from a yachting race rather than his presence at the Gulf. Mr. Hayward will never escape this faux pas because of its digital perpetuity.
There will always be crises. This is why comprehensive crisis planning is imperative for saving lives and saving brands. Although your small business may not be in the national spotlight or have a public relations expert of its own, no company is too small for a crisis. From bankruptcy to disgruntled customers or employees seeking revenge, even sole proprietors should be prepared to handle a media blitz by knowing the fundamentals of crisis management.
Moreover, as service professionals, we should expect panicked calls from clients when the muck hits the fan. If this blog has now attracted your attention—you should know the professionals who practice crisis management and ask them for preparation advice. The small investment in devising a crisis plan will save you or your clients the costly fees of needing to clean up the mess when everything spins out of control. Before the onslaught of digital media, we only had to concern ourselves with the physical mess. These days, we must concern ourselves with the virtual mess left for the world to see through a simple Google search.
If rolling up your sleeves and banging out a crisis management plan seems intimidating, here are the fundamentals that every business should practice in order to be prepared for unanticipated events. Check in next week for these tips.