A bad headline can be made so much worse for many organisations if they do not handle the media well. A crisis can happen to any organisation for many different reasons, some completely out of their control, but organisations can control the way to respond to it.
Crisis Media Management
Crisis media management mistakes can be avoided if they are prepared for, the exact nature of the response will be unknown, but the tools needed to deal with it can be learned and practised.
Here are a range of ways reputation damaging mistakes with the media during a crisis can be avoided:
Prepare in Advance – Because crises don’t happen that often, many organisations do not do enough to prepare for how damaging this can be to a brand, business, or organisations’ reputation if this is handled badly. As these events are rare, it is unlikely that many people in a business have the experience to deal with media crisis, and if they have had any training it was a long time ago. Along with the full range of contingency planning businesses do to ensure continuation of business in an emergency etc, there should be a crisis media management plan in action at all times and regular crisis media training for any person who would speak to the media if this were to happen.
Quick Reaction – Many mistakes are made with the media in a crisis because it is often a fast-moving situation and the instinct to say too much too quickly can be damaging. Ensure you only speak with the facts that you have and don’t speculate until you are in possession of the whole story. Update regularly but don’t rush if something is unclear. A quick reaction can also be to not engage with the media at all, this can cause serious problems and reputational risk as the crisis deepens. The media are unlikely to go away. Brief holding statements are a very useful tool while the situation is developing.
Using the Right Spokesperson – Crisis media interviews are a different type of interview than at other times, therefore it is essential the spokesperson picked to meet with the media is competent and calm. Doorstep interviews may occur, which are unpleasant and a calm and collected demeanour is essential. The spokesperson at the time of a crisis media interview will be under much more pressure and scrutiny than at any other time and they will have to be able to handle that. In addition, they have to ensure they look control, speak with authority and demonstrate compassion and empathy.
The best way to avoid crisis media mistakes is to have a well-trained and regularly practised team with a regularly updated plan. Dealing with the media well in a crisis is an essential skill for any organisations’ communication team, but the only way to ensure that this can happen is with regular crisis media training. Hawkeye Media create bespoke packages tailored to each organisations’ needs to ensure if a crisis were to happen it can be dealt with in the best way possible.