Now more than ever in the COVID-19 era, managing crises effectively and empathetically is critical for business success – and survival. However, there is a significant disconnect between the crisis preparedness of organisations and the likeliness of a crisis occurring.
Most large organisations are likely to experience at least one serious crisis within five years, and 70 per cent of business leaders have experienced one or more corporate crises in the past five years. Yet, less than one in four companies test their crisis plans annually.
As Mark Forbes [feature image] says in Surviving Crisis, “organisations must be prepared for when a crisis occurs and have plans and teams ready to spring into action”.
“For individuals and organisations, reputational risk is at an all-time high. It’s not a question of if crisis will come, but when. Crisis is the new normal,” he says.
“News cycles are accelerating, activism has heightened, regulatory and community scrutiny are intensified. With an explosion of social and digital channels, the spotlight is bright and always on. What once may have been minor is magnified.”
Forbes says the coronavirus crisis has seen many companies subjected to intense scrutiny.
“In times like these it’s crucial that an organisation’s communications are clear, concise and accurate, delivered effectively to key audiences,” he says in the book.
“We’ve seen missteps, such as Prime Minister Morrison announcing gatherings of more than 500 would be banned, then stating he would attend the rugby that weekend. In another example one leading retailer exhibited a tin ear to community sentiment by exploiting consumers’ fears of missing out on sought-after products like hand sanitiser.”
However, Forbes says many organisations have produced useful, constructive content meeting community needs.
“Look at the Victorian Health Department’s fantastic corona virus data dashboard, and the CSIRO’s website highlighting its research into COVID-19, which is engaging and informative,” he explains.
“As stated in the e-book, how an organisation responds and communicates its response to crisis will often have more reputational impact than the trigger event. You need to choose your words carefully, and ensure your deeds match those words.”
Drawing on Icon’s 18 years of integrated communications experience and path-setting digital expertise, as well as Forbes’ Walkley-award winning journalism career, the e-book shares Icon Reputation’s insights on:
· Understanding whether an organisation is crisis-ready
· Best-practice principles for responding to a crisis
· Managing traditional media
· Monitoring online sentiment
· The seven deadly sins of crisis management.