Only 1 in 10 companies are ready. A crisis leaves large losses compared to the low cost of a plan to face it. Unbelievably, after many lessons, managers make the same mistakes, and learning from what happened seems to be impossible. On the other hand, many communications consultants offer to help with no experience to do so. In this way, 90% of companies today have the necessary elements for the perfect storm.
Talking to managers about the crisis in companies is taboo. If the conversation were to occur, we would find three kinds of groups and attitudes. The first the illusionists who believe that it is an issue, that as death is alive every day but it is better to avoid it due to the number of deficiencies that it will show at the corporate level. The illusionists agree that when it happens it will be handled but that for now, it is necessary to produce profits and not anticipate the events. The second group is the optimists who talk about the issue, they know that they must prepare but they consider it complex, expensive, and alarmist. They hope that it does not happen to them because they trust in their abilities and underestimate the surrounding conditions. The last group is realistic. They know the crisis is always near that they have to prepare very well and be vigilant. Sadly it’s only 1 in 10.
Let’s see how those who talk about the issue perceive the crisis. From there, we will be able to structure the importance of effective response based on a plan and communication as one of the efficient response actions. First, it must be said that the development of social networks and the new digital media so popular in the decade that is ending have a high influence on the occurrence of crises. Today we are faced with the reality that a brand is exposed 24/7 to a crisis, even while people sleep. Also, that marketing evolved from the 4P”s to the 4C’s and makes brands highly volatile with their clients to exploit a crisis.
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According to Forbes, between 2010 and 2017 there was 80% more crisis than the previous decade. According to PWC, 33% of managers said they had one or more crises at the same time. 53% said the share price did not regain its pre-crisis value. 69% of executives from 25 industries in 43 countries experienced a crisis in the last 5 years. 40% anticipate that in the next 3 years they will go through a crisis. 66% see more threats now than three years ago. Although 1 in 10 companies have a plan for a crisis (FB-D), only 1 in 5 of them has simulated a crisis to refine the response. 60% report a minor crisis every month and the dynamics show that it is the small incidents that turn into the big crises and you have to learn to recognize them. It is clear that the crisis is an upcoming issue. What will happen sooner rather than later and that being prepared is the key.
For most, being prepared for the crisis means having an advisor to help them but who will always act as a “firefighter” to put out the fire. The minority knows that they must have two experts, one who builds a plan tailored to the company and its business and the other who works as a meteorologist who helps them see the weather and can predict the storm in time so that they can start the existing plan.
For companies and colleagues who want to prepare for the crisis, here is a guide on how to approach the construction of the plan and its communication component, which is the key when the crisis becomes public. There are those who say that the crisis that is not public is only an alteration of the operation that is easy to correct. Only when the crisis transcends does it require proper management. When I have been hired to develop a crisis management plan, I have developed a six-phase model that is carried out in three stages as follows: Stage A, Planning phases 1 and 2. Stage B, Implementation phases 3 and 4. Stage C, Application, phase 5. Stage D, Maintenance, phase 6.
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PLANNING 1. Identify the existing situation through the development of 6 points from which to form the leading work team and identify + engage strategic stakeholders are the two loudest. The remaining 4 will add value to the plan. 2. Develop the crisis management manual through 18 points among which the types of crises stand out, identify risks, and establish types of effects. Establish the protocols for determining the crisis, committees, and spokespersons. Define the management of media including social networks.
IMPLEMENTATION 3. Make the crisis management manual official through 8 points, among which the establishment of commitments, evaluation, indicators, and the approval of the plan by the corporate. 4. Implement the manual through 6 points, among which the design of the training and the definition of the simulation sessions. The remainder will complete the solidity of the plan and the company in the face of a crisis.
APPLICATION 5. Begin the application of the manual throughout the development of 8 points, among which socialize and train internal stakeholders, train spokespersons, and determine correct and incorrect practices. The other points will allow the development of the plan to be fluid and smooth.
MAINTENANCE 6. Evaluate performance through 5 points that stand out, identify improvement actions, review indicators, and make adjustments. The remainder will give the company the assurance that it is as prepared as it should be.
Companies must understand that those in charge of responding to the crisis will be the most efficient officials, with a disposition for the tasks entrusted and with the skills to do their job regardless of the cruelty of times of crisis. Similarly, external advisers should be people who have handled crises in the past, who can demonstrate their ability to work through them both in preparation and response. A high percentage of companies tend to trust inexperienced professionals guided more by the costs of their fees than by their skills. As there is no regulation in that market, it is easy to make mistakes with the unprepared person and the damage will be greater. Managers must understand three truths. 1. No superman manages or disarms a crisis and less in the middle of modern digital life. 2. All crises produce damage, the idea of having a good response that minimizes them. 3. In the crisis, there are no magic formulas. As in sports, what the athlete has not trained will not do in competition. Crises and their response will determine the value, strength, and significance of a brand. Like everything that is done to position it the crisis plan is another decisive action that can transform a weakness into a strength and the business world is full of examples of this type. A crisis plan is currently the greatest asset to defend a product or service brand. Everything the company has done in its business life may be affected if it does not align with the crisis plan. If they agree as a unit the result will be highly favorable. To learn more about how to implement a crisis plan or make an evaluation of the existing one, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me about your need or project, and I will surely be able to help you.