Morningstar Communications presented at the September SMCKC breakfast on “Crisis Communications in a Social Era”.
We know it is important to take care of things before they become a crisis. But when there is a crisis, it can be an opportunity for marketing to shine.
We live in a digital world of instant communication. When a crisis happens, it is important to respond quickly, but not unrehearsed. Be prepared by having a plan in place ahead of time. Then deliver it with transparency and honesty to your audience when the crisis happens. Tricia McKim and Brian Van Note from Morningstar Communications shared examples of how Southwest Airlines handled their massive technology failure. They were prepared, transparent and authentic, used the omni-channel approach and had fast response times.
Since preparation is key, here are 8 steps to follow:
1. Write crisis communication plan.
2. Engage communications leader.
3. Conduct senario planning.
4. Determine roles.
5. Define key stakeholders.
6. Craft preliminary messages in advance.
7. What channels to reach stakeholders?
8. Train your teams.
Here are 5 Tips for Communicating in a Crisis:
1. Deliver accurate and transparent information
2. Remember, tone matters
3. Take decisive action quickly
4. Never argue or put down your audience
5. Implement the strategy: Strengthen/Soften/Separate
Remember, crisis communications is an ongoing priority; not a “plan on a shelf”. The planning process never ends.