What Is Crisis Management?
The crisis management definition is simply the strategy that businesses have in order to mitigate significant issues that could result in the harm or suspension of operations. While they can’t foresee every crisis that could come to fruition, the company needs to know they can effectively prevent or lessen the damage of crises so they can protect the public, stakeholders, and the organization as a whole.
No matter what the crisis is, whether it’s financial or reputational, if your company doesn’t have a crisis management strategy in place, it is highly susceptible to being harmed whenever one does occur. It may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the real-time brand sentiment tracking Compass offers, marketers can catch issues when they arise early on so they get ahead of their messaging. This ensures that brands can take immediate and proactive measures to limit the fallout from a crisis. So, trust in Compass to help you stay on top of your messaging in each phase of crisis management.
Why Develop A Crisis Management Plan?
Even though many crises can’t be foreseen, brands need to know how they will respond in the event that a PR crisis arises. Oftentimes, the reaction to a situation is more important than the actual event itself. So, in the event of a crisis, your company needs to have a plan in place that it can follow to maximize your messaging around it and minimize any damage that could occur.
The Three Phases of Crisis Management
In order to create a comprehensive plan quickly and efficiently, it’s important to understand the three phases of this concept – pre-crisis, crisis management strategy, and post-crisis – separately. Each phase tackles different areas of a crisis management strategy and understanding each phase separately will help you successfully mitigate a crisis holistically.
Before a crisis ever happens, it’s important for brands to create and test a crisis management plan that is centered around prevention and preparation. During this time, write down crisis management steps that everyone on your team can follow. Also, appoint an appropriate spokesperson and a crisis management team that can convey your message in a clear and concise way, and establish communication channels that your company and spokesperson can go through in order to get your exact message out in one piece.
A crisis management plan is a reference tool focused on transparent and cohesive communication, not a blueprint that you can follow to the letter. Crises don’t happen in a vacuum, so it’s impossible to plan for everything. Your company needs to be able to devise a plan around a crisis that will allow them to tackle a problem with agility to mold the narrative in an accurate and positive way. Once the crisis management plan is created, it’s important that it is tested annually to ensure that your team understands exactly what to do in the event of a crisis so they will never miss a beat.
Additionally, it is also critical to understand brand sentiments through things like brand tracking and social listening. With these, you’ll know how your audience is interacting with your brand and if there’s ever negative sentiment, you can use the crisis management plan you’ve developed and tested to get ahead of any negative press. Using Compass by The Harris Poll, you’re able to access brand sentiment from thousands of consumers through a variety of touchpoints so you’ll never be taken by surprise.
Once a crisis hits, your company will need to quickly put your plan into action. The key to this phase is to follow your crisis management steps efficiently. You’ve prepared for this moment, so get any pre-prepared communications and messages out in a manner that will shine a light on what happened and how your company is going to fix it. Make sure to be as specific and direct as possible here, because if there’s any lapse in information, wrong conclusions can be drawn. Above all else, keep your consumer’s health and wellbeing at the forefront of your messaging, and be genuine about your sentiments.
As your crisis management plan is being utilized, Compass can be even more helpful. Our tracking tools allow marketers to gauge if their crisis management efforts are successful and help them to pivot their strategies if they are not effective. That way you’ll be able to stay ahead of any backlash caused by the crisis and you can better mitigate the situation at hand.
The last phase of crisis management is the time post-crisis where your team is able to decompress and evaluate how it handled the crisis intervention. But, even though the immediate crisis is finally over, there is still work to be done. Beyond resolving whatever issues caused the crisis, brands should also be vigilant in their communications with consumers about their intentions moving forward. Lastly, it is imperative to reevaluate the crisis management strategies that were utilized to see how they could be improved for the future and to continue with brand tracking efforts.