Three ills that can come in the way of effective crisis communications

Not preparing

It doesn’t just mean having a crisis communication plan and doing emergency exercises but also:

  • Building relations with key stakeholders in the good times – not just the people you have to speak like regulators, shareholders and customers to but also the influencers, e.g. journalists and politicians.
  • If you have a large physical footprint, ensure that you have a well-established CSR programme as this means that you have some positive reputation in the bank.
  • You have ready prepared reactive statements, a shadow website, a key facts document and any library images.


Missing the golden hour

  • They say that you’ve got an hour after a crisis to be able to influence how a story is reported, and if you don’t provide sufficient information in time, they’ll contact someone else such as your regulator, competitor, or disgruntled former employees and write the story from their perspective instead.
  • You need short decision lines on communications.
  • Be aware of media needs and deadlines, e.g. offer spokesperson for interview, or hold a press conference and provide images or footage when they need it.
  • Demonstrate action and concern and if you don’t know all the information, provide a time and date when you will give a further update.


Not picking up the pieces

  • It takes time to rebuild a reputation so after a crisis, demonstrate what you have done to deal with the issue and explain what you’ve learned or what’s changed to prevent this from happening again.


Further reading:

Crisis Management and Communication – Third Edition
Authors: Dan Millar, Ph.D., Larry Smith

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