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Reacting to a Crisis with Content

The right (or wrong) reaction to a crisis situation can make-or-break a company. Whether it’s a case of false advertising, a recalled product or even just a typo on publicity material – mistakes can cause a company a lot of headaches and a lot of damage. Not just in financial terms, but in terms of reputation, too.

As any experienced manager can tell you, avoiding a crisis isn’t possible, though it is possible to handle the negative repercussions to mininise the damage. The right communication in times of crisis is essential. Here, we’ll show you how to implement your content strategy for dealing with any scandal.

1. Take Responsibility, Show Accountability

Regardless of whether it was you, your trainee or even the dog that ate your homework; if a company’s error has been made public, there’s no time to point the finger. If you’re the top manager in your company, this one is your call. As the company’s public face, you have to show clearly what your company has done, how you’re dealing with it and – when necessary – indicate how you’re working to prevent the same kind of scandal happening again. Online videos are a great way to get a personal message out into the public, as well as publications directly on your company’s home page.

2. Be Quick!

Bad news travels fast – a statement with more truth in it now than ever. Dealing with a public scandal, especially if it’s already burning through the pages of social media, calls for quick action. You can use the speed of social media to your advantage. A short post on the suitable sites just to state you’re aware there’s an issue and you’re dealing with it, with further information to follow, can often be sufficient to calm the storm.

3. Promote Consistency

No matter how you deal with a scandal or which channels you use to do so, it’s vital that the information you send out is clear and consistent. Everybody must be pulling on the same strings, so ensure everyone in your company knows what the company’s message is in any crisis situation – especially if yours is a global business.

4. Deliver Transparent Facts

This one is all about clarity. If you’ve mis-advertised something, if the scandal is complex or involves a lot of background knowledge, you have to make sure that your communication in times of a crisis is clear. Make sure your target audience have enough information to understand the issue. A scandal can quickly turn into public panic if people don’t understand the situation. Too much or too little information will only make a public fracas worse.

5. Ensure Availability

Sadly, ducking under the radar and waiting for the scandal to blow over isn’t an option here. So reconnect that telephone and answer the incoming calls and emails. If you’ve got the capacity, have a few members of staff dedicated to answering calls and emails. Make sure, too, that you publicise the numbers and contact email address on your site. For your customers, even just knowing that there’s a number they can call with concerns and questions will help in winning back their trust.

Mistakes are inevitable, but they can be dealt with. Clear communication is essential and can often go a long way to saving a company’s reputation.


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