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Bank of America Small Business
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Leading and Learning Inc
MSN, Business on the Main
Marketing and PR Lab
Pizza Marketplace 2
The Glass Hammer
The Glass Hammer2
Leading and Learning Inc.
The strongest response to a crisis begins with prevention. This occurs when we think proactively and are in tune with the perceptions of employees, the media, and the public-at-large. Usually a company crisis can be predicted long before it occurs. In fact, most can be prevented.
When a crisis is unavoidable and does erupt, an organization needs to gain control quickly. The most effective crisis communications and emergency response plans rely on information gathered from as many sources as possible to analyze the situation and determine if there is anything that needs to be communicated immediately, relative to health or safety. This analysis will help shape the key messages that will be communicated to every journalist. Placing yourself in the shoes of the members of the public will be helpful in anticipating the questions most likely to be asked. Prepare answers that are truthful and that communicate the information you want the public to remember most about the situation.
When you respond to members of the media, timing is critical. The more timely and accurate the information that you provide is, the less likely that the media will turn to other sources for information. You'll also want to reveal as much information about the situation as possible so that the information is bundled into the smallest number of news cycles. Rather than letting the bad news drip out over time, take all the pain at once.
Most of the time, admitting mistakes is the best approach. When something goes wrong it is usually because the steps needed to prevent the situation weren't taken. It has been proven many times that the public can forgive an organization that honestly apologize for its mistake. This is also a good time to explain both what you are doing to solve the problem as well as to make sure that it will never happen again.
Resist the temptation to respond with "No Comment." Not only does this sound rude, it also looks bad in print. If an organization determines that it is unable or unwilling to answer a particular question, it is best to give a legitimate reason why the company must decline comment. If the organization admits its error, apologizes, mitigates when and what it can, and moves quickly to ensure that this situation will never occur again, it will usually survive the crisis and have a good chance of turning the crisis into a positive for the company, enhancing its reputation in the process.