Effective crisis communications doesn’t involve “spin,” doublespeak, or putting the proverbial lipstick on a pig. Rather it involves candor, and whenever possible, openness and transparency. If there is a void of information, the media will find no shortage of misinformed “experts” to fill it. It’s typically best to get all the bad news out a quickly as possible, rather than have it dribble out through multiple news cycles.
STARKMAN frequently advocates that companies in crisis directly address their impacted stakeholders, rather than have their messages interpreted and distorted by reporters and bloggers. In other words, while the ubiquity of the Internet and explosive growth of social media have created additional risk vulnerabilities, they can also be harnessed as a communications channel for more effectively managing through them.
While crisis situations cannot always be anticipated, it is imperative that companies plan for the unexpected and put systems and action plans in place to deal with a crisis eruption. After all, as a crisis escalates, nobody has time to hunt for the person with the authorization and access details to add related information to the company’s website and address it through social media accounts.