Who Should Do The Talking?
Do you know who your media crisis spokesperson is?
In the midst of today’s warp speed social media, words can travel vast distances almost as quickly as the speed of light. This is especially so when the words involve a media crisis.
So being prepared matters. Knowing how to correct course on a media crisis is essential to maintaining good relations with your audience and with the media.
We always advise clients to have a strategy in place should something go awry. Know what to say and know who will say it.
Here are a few tips:
Train appropriate staff to respond.
That list does not have to include the CEO. In fact, some argue that the CEO should be the public ‘voice’. But ask yourself this question: if that is the case then who’s minding the shop while it is in crisis. Isn’t that what the CEO is supposed to be doing?
Such a figure head can be a voice but not initially. According to media training and crisis communications plan expert Gerard Braud, “… the CEO as a spokesman might come several hours into the crisis. In the first hour, when a statement should be made, the CEO is often busy with other issues.”
Line-up your public relations team.
These people are geared for media inquiries. They generally do know how to give the media what’s needed. Even so, public relations people do not always represent management.
Admit There's A Crisis
Across the board, media crisis experts agree that it will be essential to admit there is a crisis. No one likes it when they are told there is no elephant in the living room.
Facts matter, even if you don’t have them all. It’s okay to say that more details will be forthcoming. This move towards transparency goes a long way in building confidence.
Make sure your media crisis plan includes a list of topic experts who can weigh in and add credibility to claims being made. And consider having several news briefings if the situation warrants it.