Our moderator Danny Brown gives us his POV from this past Tuesdays, Unpanel #5.
Crisis Communications Takeaway
- Every company should have a crisis communications team.
It seemed to be in agreement that every business should have a crisis communications team in place, regardless of size of the business itself. What was less obvious is who should the team be – internal or external?
Do you go for the internal approach because no one knows your company like you do, and your customers may not trust the word of a “stranger”? Or do you go external, because they won’t have rose colored specs on and will see the areas you need to look out for?
Compromise seemed to be external, with final decision resting on CEO internally.
- Is social media helping or hindering crisis communications?
No one could pinpoint an example of a great social media response when it came to crisis communications. Motrin, Dominoes and Amazon were all late to the party. The feeling is if there’s no response within 24 hours, you’ve missed the control boat.
With social media, though, this time is lessened dramatically. In this way, social media is both the devil and the saviour – it can cause a crisis and it can also control it. The difficulty lies with how you monitor.
- Should crisis communications be PR-led?
PR professionals can offer some of the best crisis communications control and advice, but does their place always belong with crisis communications? Look at the swine flu outbreak and media reaction – has this been dealt with efficiently?
Either way, should PR be stepping on news reporting shoes? It’s not always clear-cut who should be part of the crisis communications team make-up.
- Should the CEO be the crisis communications face and figurehead?
You want a calm and respected voice of the company when a crisis happens. But does this instantly mean the CEO or another C-level exec? Isn’t this where an external source can really take charge and divert negativity away while showing that the business takes it seriously enough to hire outside experts for non-bias?
Overall, it’s agreed that crisis communications is needed – a crisis can happen at any time, and you need to be prepared to face it head on as opposed to burying your head in the sand and hoping it blows over.
We want to again thank Danny Brown for a very thoughtful, energized and engaged Unpanel discussion. Want more thoughtful discussion? Look for Danny on Twitter