Communicating effectively during a crisis has a major impact on your target public’s perception of your company. Mishandling a crisis can lead to a flawed reputation for a company, but perhaps more importantly, a loss of trust. Many companies have lost market share based on the public perception of how they’ve mishandled communication during a crisis. Yes, transparency is key, and part of your crisis communications plan should include speaking with the public through the media regularly. As a company, you must prepare for a crisis beforehand, so you’ll be prepared if one happens. This involves putting together a comprehensive crisis communications plan.
Elements of a Stellar Crisis Communications Plan
Assembling a team of crisis communications experts within your company is important to your success in managing a crisis. Identifying and training a spokesperson within the team to speak with your target publics and stakeholders is essential because you will need to communicate most effectively with these publics to maintain your reputation as a company. Using social media to communicate your key messages to your publics and your stakeholders is a great way to monitor and track how people are reacting to your key messages during a crisis. Also, be sure to develop statements to your publics and stakeholders that are honest and action-oriented. Be as open as you can with your publics because they will respect you for it.
The steps you take to analyze your crisis after the fact are important because it helps you prevent miscommunication in the future. There is always something to learn from a crisis, even if it’s simply how to prevent it in the future. You can also evaluate what about your response worked and what didn’t work by analyzing data about reactions from social media. Remember, a crisis can always happen, and they often happen when you least expect them to. Being prepared is the best defense, and keeping communication open and clear is a must.
Implementing a comprehensive crisis communications plan is essential to managing your reputation as a company because it builds trust between your company and its various publics and stakeholders. Even if you have a crisis that threatens to put you out of favor, authenticity in communication and transparency can help you come out of it unharmed. You might even enhance your company’s reputation by showing your publics how trustworthy you are as a company. Having a crisis is inevitable and it is forgivable if it’s handled efficiently and effectively with a pre-planned crisis communications plan that you can implement whenever you need to. Stay tuned for Lionbridge onDemand’s blog for more business insights.
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