From responding to social justice and advocacy issues to managing cancel culture, PR practitioners must be versed and ready to act, when it comes to handling a modern-day client crisis.
We’re often told that communicating early and often is the hallmark of good crisis communications, yet in 2021, we’re faced with a multitude of avenues that could – and do- amplify emerging issues into crises.
We’ve shortlisted our top tips to help you become more proactive across your clients and brand, to ensure you assess risk and develop a plan for brand-specific as well as issues affecting the wider industry you operate in.
Crisis? Issue? What’s The Difference?
Despite being used interchangeably, issues management is different to crisis management.
We’ve outlined some key differences between an Issue and a Crisis:
You are handling an issue if:
- You have adequate time to assess the situation
- You can articulate the issue and offer or implement immediate solutions to reduce the impact
- All or the majority of commercial operations continue as normal
- No one has experienced injury, illness or death
- The response can be signed off by the Executive or Senior Leadership Team.
You are managing a crisis if it:
- Can cease or hinder a brand’s operations
- Can include injury, illness or death
- Requires immediate response
- Requires presence from the organisation’s leader
- Will involve multiple stakeholders including media, customers, staff and suppliers
Effective communications strategies can help prevent some issues from becoming crises, but not all crises have forewarning as such.
At Koukash Consultancy and the KC Academy, we specialise in delivering crisis and issues management training and developing crises plans that provide your organisation with the tools to manage scenarios as they develop.
Preparedness and Pre-Crisis Planning
In today’s digital age, an issue can quickly turn into a crisis and become front-page news in an instant.
Having a crisis communication strategy ready to go, and a team ready to act should not be considered as an “add on” but a “must-have”.
A poorly executed social media post or failure to acknowledge an internal issue that is threatening to become external can derail years of careful reputation management and public relations planning.
Crisis Communication in a Digital World
One of the key characteristics of operating in a predominantly digital-first, post-pandemic landscape has to be the de-centralisation and dilution of message control.
For PR and Communication practitioners, the traditional “wheel and spoke” model has been disrupted and social media plays an important role in crisis communication.
Employees, stakeholders, the media and adversaries can quickly disrupt and dilute your message, and add further fuel to the developing crisis.
To navigate this, it is important to develop a crisis plan that incorporates all potential threat, and crisis scenarios and identifies a crisis communications team to manage situations, provide a step by step guide to communicating internally, and outline key messaging for each scenario.
Ultimately, before we proceed with any external communication it is critical to understand the importance of publicly acknowledging the situation, showing genuine empathy for those involved and thoroughly assessing the damage before attempting to find the most appropriate solution.
If you are interested in learning more about our Crisis Communication and Issues Management training or would like to speak to us about developing a comprehensive strategy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We advise global brands, business and organisations on reputation, communications and public affairs and partner with them to create impactful communication through our beskpoke solutions.
We specialise in protecting and promoting business, brands and individuals through public relations & strategy development, reputation management, media relations and through leadership, learning & development and executive coaching.