It takes years for a company to build a good reputation and mere seconds for it to be tarnished.
This is especially true these days with the advent of social media, where anyone with an Internet connection can post a negative comment on a company, thus sullying its good reputation that took years to develop.
Companies are then faced with the ever-present challenge of battling a potential negative public perception created by media or netizens.
The ability to respond in times of crisis to media, whether traditional or social media, has thus become a valuable skill that every organization must develop.
“Don’t think damage control, but focus on the total recovery of the brand,” says Connie Kalagayan, a public relations and corporate communications professional. Kalagayan has 25 years of experience in issues and crisis management, corporate image and brand stewardship, strategic marketing communications, top level partnerships, CSR projects and advocacies.
She was connected with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and had worked with numerous multinationals.
In her present role as Assistant Vice President for Corporate Affairs of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she manages both internal and external communications, heads the issues and crisis management team and is Executive Director of Inquirer Foundation.
Here, Kalagayan responds to some questions on how to respond to media during a crisis.
1. When responding to a crisis that can damage a brand, should the company allot a big budget or are there ways not to spend?
Allotting a budget for crisis management is on a case-by-case basis. If the crisis resulted in property damage or loss of lives, obviously you need to prepare for an emergency budget under the office of the COO that will be used for insurance, compensation for the affected families or payment for damaged property. However, managing a crisis does not always mean you have to spend. What is important is you have a very good network with the media and other partners/stakeholders. You need to have the support and cooperation of your management and your employees so that you can seamlessly implement your crisis response.
2. What are the usual misconceptions when it comes to relating with media during a crisis?
The usual misconceptions of crisis handlers is that, “the media will just make the issue bigger.” “The media is out to get us.” “The media will speculate and will invent or distort the facts.” A good crisis handler knows that the media can be his or her ally. When a crisis happens, you should prepare and provide the media with a company statement stating all the facts, figures, situation and the actions that your company is taking to solve the problem.
Do not wait for them to hound you, bring the facts to them to avoid unnecessary speculations and conclusions.
3. Who should formulate the organization’s crisis management policies?
Formulating the organization’s crisis management policy is a team effort. Members of top management should be involved and the Corporate Affairs/ Corporate Communication or Strategic Marketing Communication office should take the lead.
The same members who will formulate the policy should also be the same members of your crisis team.
Connie Kalagayan will be the resource speaker for the Issues and Crisis Management Media Workshop on Oct. 22-23, 2015 at the Inquirer Academy Building, Chino Roces Avenue corner Ponte Street, Makati City.
The professional workshop is brought to you by the Inquirer Academy and is ideal for owners of corporations, PR practitioners, corporate and public affairs practitioners and strategic marketing communications practitioners.
Representatives of 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 beneficial.
To know more about the workshop or the resource speaker, you may write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 834-1557. Look for Bambi Donato or Arvin Maghirang.
Inquirer Academy is the learning center for professionals who want to get ahead, be ahead and contribute to society.