"Ding, dong" the crisis is here
Updated: Jun 7
Article published in the Magazine Mercados y Tendencias
By: Catalina Jiménez - Director & Founder, Sentidos Comunicaciones
Organizational crisis management should always be a strategic point in companies because knowing how to react and manage the situation will help to maintain a good business image nowadays where the message can travel faster through the Internet.
There are certain incidents in companies where alarms are turned on and risk is generated by a faulty message, a deficiency in a product, the violation of their equipment, or when unauthorized information is filtered, in all these cases, bad handling compromises the operation, the relationship with suppliers, customers, or even with the media.
The reputation supported by a good image in front of the various audiences of the company is one of the assets that should be treated with the greatest suspicion and responsibility, without a serious protocol that defines the steps to follow, the spokespersons, and the way in which action is going to be taken, it is easy to lose a positioning effort that has taken years to consolidate. The only way to overcome this event is by anticipating the events and to achieve this, a company needs to form and prepare a crisis team that leads the actions as soon as the first symptoms appear. The first hours are critical for the proper handling of the message in front of your audience and the public opinion.
Public relations play a fundamental role before, during, and after a crisis; The good relationship with its various audiences is a sustained task over time, which should not be activated only in the face of an incident but in a sustained way over time and long before needing their support. Creating strong ties with your audience will help you navigate the crisis in a better way.
How to protect a brand?
Depending on the type of incidence, we can classify the management of a crisis into three categories. The low level refers to all those situations that when presented do not produce a sufficient impact to constitute a threat to the image and that can also be managed without putting the stability of the business at risk. The medium type refers to situations that impact more than one stakeholder of the company, generating misinformation and negative perceptions. The events that occur here require proactive management of actions and control of information in order to mitigate their consequences.
Finally, we find the high level, which requires greater skill and preparation for their management, since they constitute a clear threat to the image and sustainability of the organization's management. They generate negative effects on customer relationships, questioning the management of the company and affecting communication. They require effective and rapid management to reduce consequences and protect reputation. In such situations, it is important to determine the degree of responsibility of the company in the event that triggered the crisis.
The main steps that must be activated in a protocol for handling a crisis are: Recognizing and facing the situation, accepting that there is a problem, and assuming that the company is involved. Visualize the history, which leads to having the complete panorama of how the situation that is affecting the company was arrived at and developing an action plan to face the crisis, and above all, assuming what happened and being empathetic to the facts. The company must have a visible face, with a seasoned spokesperson who faces the situation and apologizes for what happened in an honest and decisive way.
It is advisable to write a statement about what happened to share with clients and make the company's version of the events known. Based on what happened, solutions must be found to guarantee that the event will not occur again. Faced with a reputational crisis, we must have the sensitivity to understand how that third party is affected, offer solutions, and act.