What would be an organization’s worst nightmare?
A good candidate is seeing your reputation, which was built over many years, destroyed in just one day because of an accident or an incident resulting in major customer dissatisfaction.
It is not just the situation itself that is the problem, but how the public will perceive them during and after the crisis.
Many organizations believe that with no talk or less talk, less mistakes will be created.
But does this still hold true?
The ability to respond to media in times of crisis is now a valuable skill that must be present in every organization.
Connie Kalagayan, a public relations and corporate communications professional, advises people to not think of media as an enemy but an institution that can help you bring out the truth.
We asked her some questions on responding to media during a crisis.
Here are her thoughts:
Q: How has social media changed the way we deal with crises?
Social media has changed what constitutes a crisis. How people express dissatisfaction has changed. How people obtain and access information has changed.
Speed of information and response expectations have changed. Who people trust has changed. Social media and traditional media have become co-dependents.
If before you are being evaluated by how good your key messages and statements are, today the spotlight is on how well you handled the crisis in full view of all of your stakeholders.
Q: What’s the most common mistake made during a crisis?
The most common mistake is to imagine that a crisis will never happen.
It is a mistake to set aside a boiling issue or a developing crisis and think that this will go away sooner than later.
Do not ignore and hide and please take action and accept responsibility when a problem happens. It is better to over-prepare than be caught off guard.
Q: It seems handling a crisis is costly. What should I do if I am only a small/medium enterprise?
Crisis management can be costly if the crises resulted in property damage or loss of lives. However, for SMEs, as long as you have prepared yourselves for the eventuality of a crisis, it shouldn’t be costly.
What is important is to practice good corporate governance, have policies and systems in place, have an updated crisis manual which should be handy if the unimaginable happens.
Develop and strengthen your relationships with your stakeholders, partners and media. You need to have their support as well as the cooperation of your management and employees to work as one if challenged by a crisis.
(Connie Kalagayan has accumulated 25 years of experience in the areas of issues and crisis management, corporate image and brand stewardship, strategic marketing communications, top level partnerships, CSR projects and advocacies.
She was formerly connected with a global PR agency where she won numerous awards for her clients. She is now the assistant vice president for corporate affairs of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the executive director of the Inquirer Foundation.
She will be the resource speaker for the second run of the Issues and Crisis Management Media Workshop on March 3-4, 2016 at the Inquirer Academy Building, Chino Roces Ave. cor. Ponte St., Makati City. It will guide participants on how to respond to traditional and social media during a crisis.
The professional workshop is brought to you by Inquirer Academy and is ideal for entrepreneurs, PR practitioners, corporate and public affairs practitioners and strategic marketing communications practitioners.
Representatives of politicians and celebrities are also encouraged to join the workshop.
Anyone who is assigned to represent an organization, an advocacy or a personality will find this workshop very beneficial.
To know more about the workshop or the speaker, you may write to email@example.com or call 8341557. Look for Astrud De Castro. You may also visit www.inquireracademy.com.)