Businesses operating in an unstable political climate more often than not need to resort to crisis communications to update employees, clients, and partners. However, not all businesses are prepared and their communication falls flat, with messages being misinterpreted and misconstrued.
Getting the wrong message out there can make or break a business. This recently happened as the CEO of Europe’s largest annual technology conference, Web Summit, resigned in an effort to quell a controversy surrounding comments he made on the Israel-Hamas war. Although he did apologise to his employees, his actions could very well have cost them their livelihoods as many large companies had already cancelled their attendance at the event.
So is there a correct way to make a statement in a crisis situation or is it best to not say anything? With only a few key questions, companies can outline what they want to say and achieve in tough times.
Should a company respond to a particular crisis?
If a company is situated in a conflicted territory, there is a need to communicate a statement updating the emotional and physical toll on employees, a show of support and empathy towards the situation, and a message about business continuity.
How should a company respond and what should be the focus of your statement?
It is key to get this right as it directly impacts all the entities you connect to as a business. Are you taking a position and how will this affect your employees, partners and corporate branding? CEOs will do well to empower their communications team to craft effective messages, listen to employees and not be tone deaf to the current crisis.
Now that we’ve made a statement, and we’re talking to our employees, what is the focus?
Employers need to be especially sensitive in this type of situation to limit offending employees who might be of the other ethnicity. Empathy and support are key in this type of situation.
Inspired Marketing works with several technology companies. The past few weeks have seen these companies turn to us for marketing and communications insight during this crisis situation. With this in mind, we have put together some tips on how to interpret and take action in a crisis situation.
Always have a crisis communication plan in place. All steps in the plan need to ensure that information reaches employees, partners, customers, media, the general public, and any other valuable stakeholders. The benefit of having a well-thought out plan provides stability, transparency and tranquillity to an otherwise unpredictable situation. Make sure you have the following elements in place:
Crisis communication team members with contact information
Media plan with procedures.