Key to Crisis Management: Better Communication and Emergency Site Management

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Keeping the media, employees, the public and other stakeholders informed during a crisis can be the toughest challenge that communicators face. Companies that don’t have a Internal communication strategy may suffer heavy and, in some cases, severe damage, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by ACE, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG, is based on a global survey of senior risk managers.

It found that 84% executives believe the threat to their companies reputations has increased significantly over the past five years. Four out of five companies surveyed said that threats to corporate reputation are rising and that crisis management is the area most companies need to strengthen in order to mange reputation risk. But only 10% of respondents said their organization is excellent at managing crises; 11% admit they are poor or worse, and 44% say they are adequate.

To improve their performance, organizations must learn how to communicate with customers and the media when things go wrong. “Reputation threats represent the biggest risk to business according to this survey,” said Daniel Franklin, editorial director of the Economist Intelligence Unit. “But because it is hard to categories and measure, many companies lack a formal strategy or management structure to manage reputation risk effectively.

“Companies that have a Internal communication strategy that enables them to respond quickly and effectively to bad news events, and which address issues openly and proactively, often emerge with their reputations in tact and even enhanced,” added Franklin.

During the Crisis One way to keep all parties likes media, employees, the public and other stakeholders, informed is through a dark site, an emergency site that launches the minute a crisis hits. Filled with the latest information about a crisis, a dark site is an effective way to reduce press calls and control rumors. But it only works, of course, if the site’s set up before crisis strikes. Speed is crucial when crisis strikes; creating pre-filled templates containing approved language is key to handling a crisis successfully. Other content should include leadership statements, facts and figures, as well as contact pages.

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