As communication experts, Talk Shop keeps up with the latest industry insights and attended a Crisis Communications Boot Camp in Vancouver, where we engaged in a two-day event with leading crisis experts from across North America. Joining us from varying organizations, like the University Health Network, IKEA, and the University of Georgia, these experts provided valuable insights and perspectives on crisis communications and issues management. If you don’t have time to attend a conference, here are our four key takeaways to start building your crisis toolbox.
Take a Lens of Trust
In any business, from PR agencies to in-house communications teams, navigating crises can be challenging, underscoring the invaluable role of effective communication. Throughout the conference, trust emerged as a recurring theme, serving as the bedrock of any relationship, particularly in times of crisis. By fostering and upholding trust through clear and coherent messaging, consistent actions aligned with company values, and communication across all channels, organizations can bolster resilience and cultivate stakeholder engagement.
Lean on Your Values and Prepare
The Talk Shop team recommends on of the more important aspects a business should have on lock is a sense of purpose or values, which acts as a strong support system for the team during turbulent times. This sense of purpose inspires teams to navigate crises with foresight, prioritizing proactive and transparent measures rather than reactive and dismissive ones. A forward-thinking approach rooted in preparedness serves as a guiding principle in this regard.
Preparedness is key when considering media engagements and public announcements. Tailoring messages to resonate with diverse audiences proves crucial, as does the readiness of leaders when navigating high-stakes interviews. Consistency and responsiveness in interacting with the media, coupled with an understanding of various communication mediums, are instrumental in controlling narratives and avoiding missteps.
Inclusivity Across Everything
Inclusivity should be an ongoing commitment across all marketing efforts, not just crises, but during a time of crisis, a diverse network of voices is imperative. This is the time to lean on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) teams to ensure inclusive and mindful language is used and that diverse perspectives are not only being considered but heard. After all, communication in times of crisis requires a delicate balance. It is essential to consider the perspectives of all stakeholders, weigh the communications against internal values, and ensure alignment among senior leadership.
Build a Team and Take Care of Them
One step all leaders should take today is to build their crisis team. Who are the people you’ll need in the room, and what are their responsibilities? Create this outline, and you’ll at least know who to contact when a crisis arises.
Some communicators might want to go the crisis road alone. However, this isn’t an option. A crisis requires a team as it can stretch for long periods, and your well-being will suffer. Build a team to lean on and be mindful of their well-being.
Monitor and Debrief
Preparing for issues and crises is a crucial takeaway from the conference. But what about when you’re in it? Daily monitoring of the crisis through internal channels, news monitoring, and social media listening is critical to keeping a pulse on the crisis and its evolution.
It can be easy to be exhausted post-crisis, but once on the other side debriefing is equally as important as being prepared. Conducting objective post-mortems after crises allows for the acknowledgment of mistakes and the improvement of future responses. Best to debrief when it is fresh to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten.
Every crisis is different, but all require trust, clear communication, purpose, preparedness, and diversity. As we navigate our businesses, these insights can serve as guiding principles for effectively managing crises and transforming them into opportunities for growth and advancement.
Curious about how PR can turn crisis into opportunities? At Talk Shop Media, we offer PR tactics with issues plan and media training to deliver impactful results during turbulent times. Let’s embark on your PR journey together. Visit our contact page to get started.