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Playbook

Crisis Communications – act quickly and regain control

T

Tiger Woods, Toyota, Adam Giambrone – is 2010 the year of mismanaged damage control?

By Scott Brownrigg

hat there have been numerous high profile public figures and organizations trying to extricate them-

selves from a public crisis is no surprise. What is

surprising is the less than satisfying first respons-

es of the parties involved. In each case the most

important element of crisis management was ig-

nored. The truth no matter how personally painful

was not immediately revealed, the public was not fooled and the issue continued with ongoing con- sequences for the parties involved.

icate them

• If your organization is involved in a crisis situ- ation, don’t prolong the negative by giving the media and vocal critics an unchallenged oppor- tunity to define the issue. Take the initiative and regain control.

• If you’ve done nothing wrong you must say so strongly and immediately. Your message must be clear. Never leave the impression there is room to read between the lines, the costly non-denial, denial.

• If something has gone wrong, admitting mistakes, making a sincere apology, and being clear about how you’re going to remedy the situation goes a long way to moving the issue out of the spotlight and rebuilding the public trust.

The public demands answers and often seeks

retribution when it doesn’t get them. How an organization handles itself during a crisis is often more important to the public than the crisis itself. If you are well prepared you will already have a crisis communications plan in place.

When the

unexpected happens you are ready to face the issue head on. While every situation is different, the following

is a basic checklist of the steps that you will be taking when an issue develops that needs to be ad- dressed publicly:

44 Politics | Canadian Edition

✓ Identify and brief the spokesperson. It is important that all of the organization’s messages are consis- tent, accurate and channelled through one person. The messenger must be articulate, credible and able to speak on behalf of the entire organization.

✓ Be accessible to the media and active over the internet. Following your initial public response, be ready to respond quickly to media requests and web commentary. Refine messages as the situa- tion clarifies and issue new statements as necessary.

✓ Immediately gather the facts. This will assist with the development of key messages, question and answer documents, potential media state- ments or news releases.

✓ Direct all media inquiries to a crisis team member. There should be one point of contact when the media calls - this may be a different person than who ultimately speaks on behalf of your organization.

✓ Notify all key members of the leadership team. A crisis communications plan will have previ- ously armed everyone in the organization with a key contact list. The leadership team will be needed as a resource in implementing the response.

✓ Constantly track your issue as it is being cov- ered by mainstream media and over the internet on social media sites such as Twitter and Face- book.

✓ Determine the right course of action. Is the best way to deliver your message through a statement, news conference, one-on-one inter- views, the internet, some or all of these? Issuing an initial statement is a positive way of demon- strating that you are aware of the crisis and in control. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
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