October 4, 2023

Dealing with a crisis in 3 easy steps

By: Kacie Van Stiphout

Obviously, there isn’t any “right” way to deal with a crisis. What should happen beforehand is the PRE-crisis planning. Always have some sort of dialogue in place. Furthermore, I think it’s important to also have the line of communication well placed out. Who exactly gets spoken to first, then so forth and so on.

When a crisis hits, there are some definite go to’s and stay away from’s. I think there are 3 easy steps to the initial post crisis communication plan. Obviously. some of these crisis’ will have longer outcomes and will be more drawn out, however, if you deal with a crisis in these first steps..the crisis can be as quickly as diffused as possible.

Step 1: Identify your investors (or stakeholders, etc)

If you haven’t pre-planned and this crisis comes at a HUGE shock. Then initially find your surroundings and try to get the major facts as quickly as possible. From there, know and NOTIFY your stakeholders. This means, what happens to the people that care the most about your organization or client. Depending on the crisis, some stakeholders will hold a deeper investment to your brand than others. In my opinion, and according to other articles, the stakeholders that hold the biggest investment in your client/brand will also suffer the most from the crisis. So, deal with this relationship first.

Step 2: Create your Key Messages

In this step, you’ll need to address the public or the media. You’ve heard about the initial crisis and next you’ve developed who’s really at stake (other than yourself/the brand) now you need to come to the media with something to say. This may be an apology. An apology can be approached in 7 tips according to this site: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2017/06/14/seven-tips-to-perfect-apologies-during-a-pr-crisis/#39ed

Otherwise, bring forward a sense of empathy or sympathy. If you choose not to explicitly say “I’m sorry” then come forward with a sense of acknowledgment and a motivation or goal to move forward and to learn from the crisis. (If need be).

Step 3: Prepare for the future

Learn from this mistake or for future obstacles that could “pop up” later on. Just because a brand or an organization has experienced one crisis, doesn’t mean another one won’t surface later on. Obviously, when you learn and impliment crisis management objectives/tactics you’re then automatically more prepared for the next one.

The ultimate step? Be PRE-PREPARED for anything (or most things) that could happen.

3 thoughts on “Dealing with a crisis in 3 easy steps

  1. I think another important element to crisis management is having contingency plans in place before a crisis happens. It’s obviously hard to predict the future, but by having some structure in place, specifically around who, where, and when the messaging surround the crisis will be disseminated. It’s also interesting how companies measure the value of telling the truth and admitting guilt, vs. protecting themselves legally and using more blanket statements in their social media messaging.

  2. Hi Kacie, I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I think you point out many of the important factors of crisis management for companies. As, sometimes I think crisis management is put on the back burner and forgotten about, or the crisis isn’t handled correctly. Personally I think the strongest factors would include, creating key messages and preparing steps for the future. These two factors are what is going to help a company move on and grain from the experience of a crisis, as well as acknowledging that something went wrong. Overall crisis management has a very important role in companies whether it is needed or not.

  3. I think business owners are also a very important factor. Before a crisis strikes, business owners should think about how a disaster would impact employees, customers, suppliers, the general public and their company’s value. A crisis can strike a company anytime, anywhere and without any portent. Advanced planning is the key to survival.

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