Crisis, what crisis? (part one)

The way that an organisation deals with a crisis can make or break a reputation.

Handle it badly and years of brand loyalty can whiter away or an organisations name can become toxic. Get it right and an organisation can cement it’s reputation.

There are plenty of examples out there of organisations that have handled a crisis well getting the tone and reaction right. And there are plenty of examples of when things go badly wrong and run away from an organisation.

Most people, when something goes wrong, want to see someone take responsibility and a clear strategy for dealing with the crisis. Empathy is a key watchword and leadership is a key quality (making things happen rather than waiting for others to act).

Traditionally you had the deadlines that the print and broadcast media work to every day. This gave you time to think and get what you do and say right. Rolling news to some extent was game changing with reporters having hours of live telly to fill.

But with the rise of twitter and facebook we’re in a real period of flux. The rules of engagement have changed and you’re now dealing with instant responses. You might have had hours or even minutes to think and get it right but now it’s sometimes a matter of minutes. And what you say in 140 characters can travel the world in no time.

This in effect means that the role of a press officer is changing. It’s much more about communications in the whole and understanding the dynamics of social and digital media which can create added pressure or opportunity very quickly.

Yes times they are a changing and when it comes to dealing with the media in a crisis that must include new media too which can turn a story in an instant.

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