Planning for and Managing Crises
By Chris Largent, Marist Intern
Respond, Never React To A Crisis
Crises, thankfully, are not an every day thing. However, they can happen and having the right plan in place for when they do can be the difference between success and failure for your company.
When dealing with a crisis it is important to maintain a positive outlook and keep a level head. To use a common communications phrase, a business should “respond” not “react” to crises. According to research, businesses that dealt with crises poorly usually experience a 10% drop in stock prices. On the contrary, businesses that handled crises well did see a slight drop in stock prices initially but were actually able to recover to a positive growth of 7% (Donohue, 2015).
Strategies of Planning
It is easy to say, “we’ll handle that when we have to” but this mentality can be detrimental to a company’s health and reputation. A smart tactic would be to look for potential issues that may arise in the future and either fix them before they arise or at the least have a plan of action for them when they do erupt.
Take a look at your business. Think critically. What are some aspects of your trade that may rub people the wrong way if found out? Be transparent with your customers and the public. It will gain you trust and credibility and you will be rewarded with a loyal customer base.
Too much transparency can be harmful. In 2013, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch stated that the company would not make XL or XXL clothing for women because it wanted to market for a more attractive customer base (Levinson, 2013). This kind of transparency is not only offensive but also had adverse side effects for the clothing brand’s reputation.
Act on these issues before they arise. Look closely at the spokesperson for your business: are they enthusiastic? Or are they overzealous.
Strategies for Managing
Remember, the faster you respond to a crisis the better. Half the battle is fixing the crisis itself. The other is determining how the public perceives you. Think about all of the audiences that will be affected by not only your crisis, but also your response to it. Think about the media that you should use in your response. It may be wise to release more traditional media such as a news release. But do not forget to address the issue on social media and other digital outputs. Make sure to remain personable and respond to customer comments and inquiries.
One of the worst things to do is stay silent to your customers. Just because the crisis has blown over, do not assume that it is finished. Make sure to check back in with research and statistics to evaluate how your reputation with the public came out.
To learn more about crisis management go to our website: hudsonvalleypublicrelations.com or give us a call at 845-202-7087
Levinson, S. (May 3, 2013). Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks. Elite Daily. Retrieved from: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-explains-why-he-hates-fat-chicks/
Donohue, J. (2015). Issue Management and Crisis Communication.