And how is your organization facing a crisis?

A crisis is any unwanted, extraordinary, often unexpected and time-limited event that requires an immediate response. The goal of the decisions and measures taken is to overcome it as soon as possible and to minimize its negative consequences for the organization and its stakeholders.

Anyone and anywhere can find themselves in a crisis situation. They are characterized by sudden emergence and pressure due to lack of time as well as increased interest of the media. In times of crisis, the reputation is at risk the most as it is one of the most important and the most fragile elements that build up the society’s property and allow it to survive. Possible negative consequences on a society can be reflected in financial loss, reputation decline, boycott of services or business transactions, and general long-term reluctance of the public. In managing crises, it is therefore important to be prepared in order to limit the negative consequences that may be caused by the excessive attention of the media and general public.

The fact is that no two crises are exactly the same, and it is therefore very difficult to predict in advance all their elements. Nevertheless, exceptional circumstances always bring about the need for a change in communication. We are talking about crisis communication, which aims to cope with the situation, to prevent a communication disaster, and – in this risky time – to provide regular, timely and reliable information to internal and external public. However, crisis communication must be part of a wider crisis management strategy that covers all other aspects, too.

Successful communication in crisis situations is a challenging task where the following guidelines can be helpful:

  • Provide regular, timely and up-to-date information on the emergence, development and unravelling of the crisis; maintain control over the development of events and the flow of information
  • Provide information to key public (employees, injured parties, the media, local public, business public, state authorities and other participants in resolving the situation)
  • Provide only mutually coordinated information (responsibility of an authorized person for public relations)
  • Communicate through the activities that represent your organization as a responsible and capable of managing the event that caused the crisis
  • Communicate from the beginning to the end of the crisis and afterwards, thus strengthening relationships with key public groups and stakeholders (e.g. employees, clients, business partners, etc.)

It is recommended that each organization has a pre-prepared and tested crisis communication plan, which can greatly ease the confrontation with these types of situations. Propiar has extensive experience in crisis management and crisis communication, as confirmed by two Prizma awards awarded by the Public Relations Society of Slovenia – one for successful crisis communication for Telemach and the other for crisis communication and preservation of the public image of a top athlete in a crisis situation.

 

Matej Črnjavič

Corporate Communications Specialist

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