Crisis Management - How not to do it

Posted by Joe Walton on 14/04/2010

This YouTube clip has been doing the rounds for a number of years now, it still makes me laugh so It have no qualms in posting again.

It's classic piece of Australian comedy in the style of the Bird and Fortune dialogues. Poor crisis press work has never been aptly demonstrated as when the "Front fell off".

 

It's an excellent spoof and it echoes the worst of media interviews.

There are some simple steps you can take in interviews to help get your message across during a crisis. 

  1. Don't repeat the allegation more than your have to. Everyone knows the front fell off, that's why your in the studio. By repeating it you are helping drive it deeper into people memories
  2. Don't ignore the environment. It's real and its out there. Prepare far more than you are willing to say, just in case the interviewer has something you thought wasn't public knowledge 
  3. Reassure people through future action not through claims to past successes. In the psychology of risk, everyone overestimates the personal danger they face. One dangerous product outweighs 100,000 safe ones. In the future do everything you can to make sure the front doesn't fall off and tell people how you will do this.
  4. Make sure the rest of your facts stack up. If they don't that will extend the crisis. If you can see another problem on the horizon fix it as soon as possible. 
  5. Finally take responsibility and ownership of the problem. By putting it back into your own control you can begin to regain credibility as a responsible organisation. Fix the problem not the blame.

The spoof was made a while ago, long before 24 hour news, the final tip is don't ignore the internet. Just because your company is not active in the web a good proportion of your audience are and they can keep a story going when the traditional media have lost interest.


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