Managing crisis communication: Simple mistakes which fuel the flames

Managing crisis communication: Simple mistakes which fuel the flames blog post

No organisation can guarantee exception from a sudden or devastating incident, particularly in such uncertain times. Years of building trust and reputation can be at stake, often in less than an hour: consumers, clients, employees, media relations, suppliers, stakeholders – but most importantly public perspective.

Strategic response and reputation management are essential. With instant global repercussions via mainstream and social media, sometimes it’s the simple things which can wreak the most havoc:

  1. Dismissing the issue or competition as short-term or nothing to worry about.
  2. Forgetting that public perception is more influential than facts.
  3. Defending or retreating, rather than addressing the realities of public point of view.
  4. Trying to find a quick fix rather than exploring core business process change.
  5. Not communicating a crisis plan or training effectively across every department, including senior management who may be disconnected from training.
  6. Responding too quickly without analysing the situation and risking an emotional response or a flimsy strategy.
  7. Withholding response too long and leaving panic or suffering open to interpretation.
  8. Allowing someone else to break bad news: risking heightened damage to stakeholder, client or employee relationships and damaging the organisations’ trust image.
  9. Not centralizing the response team, and releasing mixed-messages from different departments.
  10. Not sitting down to evaluate the lessons learned and active updating an action plan.