Crisis Communication

Between Pepsi, Nivea, and Playstation, talking about Crisis Communication this week was very relevant to the real-world. Every organization can make a mistake so it’s important to know what to do to prepare for a crisis.

I found this great article posted by Jonathan Bernstein on that gives you a simple(ish) list on what to do to prepare and respond to a crisis.

  1. Anticipate crisis: In class when we talked about how only 50% of companies have a crisis communication plan, that was crazy to me. Any company can have a crisis, and being prepared is the only way to know what to do when it happens.
  2. Identity your crisis communications team: Being a recent Hootsuite grad, a lot of the program focused on how to control who gets access to what. It’s important to know which employees to talk to in different situations.
  3. Identify and train spokespersons: It takes a strong person to be the face of a crisis. You’re the one people are going to turn to and complain or tell all their problems to.
  4. Spokesperson training: All I had to do was read this subheading and think of Strategic Communications with Professor Freberg when she said, “The worst thing you can ever do is say ‘no comment’.”
  5. Establish Notification and Monitoring Systems: In today’s digital age it is so easy to see what people are talking about because you can just look on social media. Most of the backlash Pepsi received this week was on social media, which ultimately led to them taking their ad down.
  6. Identify and Know Your Stakeholders: I correlated this a lot to what Jason Spencer was telling us on Monday. It is important for your employees to have an information network so they can stay in the know.
  7. Develop Holding Statements: These are the basic statement you always hear from a company immediately following a crisis. “We are sorry to anyone that could’ve been hurt by this.”
  8. Assess the Crisis Situation: How serious of a crisis is occurring? The United Airlines thing wasn’t that bad, it was just handled wrongly. The Pepsi thing was bad, that’s why they need to release a longer statement and take the ad down.
  9. Finalize and Adapt Key Messages: Knowing what the company’s stance on a crisis is going to be is key. Everyone needs to be on the same final page.
  10. Post-Crisis Analysis: How well did the company deal with crisis? Are there things that need to change?

Crisis communication is a necessary, but no one wants to think about it until they have to.




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