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With the advent of the internet and the proliferation of social media tools, humans have become increasingly connected. In fact, reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet and approximately 3 billion have access to social media platforms. Therefore, communicating messages effectively to the media is an essential part of successfully managing any organization. As such, saying the wrong things at the wrong time can cause a company or organization serious reputation damage, wipe out stock valuations and cost individuals their jobs.
What is a Media Crisis?
As its name implies, a media crisis can be defined as an incident that makes headlines across the country. However, these incidents can vary in terms of intensity as it could range from an incident that barely warrants attention or a major event which incurs large media coverage. Examples of such incidents could be security breach that results in lost or stolen data, or certain unpleasant acts within the company that has surfaced to the public eye. As such, thirsty for the next big scoop, hordes of media personnel will come calling.
In fact, Shift Communication mentioned how a media crisis can be compared to putting out a fire. A fire requires three things to burn – heat (energy), fuel, and a catalyst like oxygen (speed).
Similarly, in a crisis communication situation, something has gone wrong and your brand is under heavy scrutiny and surveillance. Hence, there is an incident that the company has committed and is responsible for, which acts as the fuel. The presence of public opinion which serves as the energy for the crisis, and the company’s speed of reaction to it, which acts as the catalyst.
As with real fires, if you take away any one of those elements, you break the chain reaction that causes the fire and it burns itself out. Therefore, how organizations handle such scenarios inevitably affects the long-term impact of the crisis. An effective and timely response might help put the company in a positive light during a tough time, while an ineffective, antagonistic and overly defensive reaction might fuel the disastrous situation even further and worsen the company’s reputation.
To learn more about the essential steps you can take to manage these media crises, do read more in our related blog below.
Why it is Important to have a Media Crisis Plan?
Whether it is directly or indirectly, when faced with a media crisis, the company’s reaction and response to the situation will influence the company’s brand image. Therefore, it is important that companies concoct a media crisis plan to help them deal with a crisis before it happens. These are 3 reasons why it is important to have a media crisis plan.
- Helps companies act faster
- Allows for time to brainstorm
- Delegate pre-determined roles
Helps Companies Act Faster
With a media crisis management plan, it allows companies to take the time to plan for what might happen which helps to streamline their responses and protect their brand when a crisis happens. With a management system in place, companies can act much faster as they are able to get a grasp of the situation quickly and would have measures in place to try and diffuse any negative responses. This is especially important since the longer it takes for the organization to respond, the harder it will be to overcome all negative thoughts and feelings regarding the situation.
Allows for Time to Brainstorm
With a media crisis management plan, companies can assemble a Crisis Communications Team, which would allow the company to brainstorm all possible crisis scenarios and methods which they can undertake to deal with each scenario. By doing so the company would be able to deal with any crisis that might arise and would not have to concoct up a plan on the fly , since impromptu solutions usually do not work and might in fact worsen the situation if difficult promises were made without any concrete call to actions. Thus, it is important to think through the options available and plausible courses of action which the company can do before the media crisis occurs.
Delegate Pre-determined Roles
With a media crisis management plan, companies can delegate pre-determined roles among employees in the company which they will undertake during a crisis. Additionally, by training and delegating roles among the team, such as designating a spokesperson for press conferences and training employees on the specific responses that they can give based on their role within the organization, the company would come across as credible and reliable. This helps rebuild or strengthen the relations that the company have with the public.
Media Crisis Management is a 2-day training course. Designed to provide anyone who must act as a spokesperson for an organization during a crisis. It is intended for beginner-intermediate level spokespersons. Participants will learn how to prepare for interviews, deliver press statements and manage questions effectively under pressure. The skills can easily be applied to non-crisis situations, although the focus will be on high pressure scenarios.
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