Throughout my professional career I have read and heard many topics such as “crises arrive without warning”, “it had no solution”, “it could not be anticipated”… It is true that these situations come when you least expect them; we can even say they are usually very inconvenient: they catch us on weekends or, worse, arise when the account manager is on vacation on a remote and wonderful beach without wireless Internet…
But I would risk saying that the vast majority of crises can be anticipated, prepared and we can even benefit from them, making them a communication opportunity that strengthens the image of the brand that is in the spotlight.
The new 2.0 scenario in which we live, where everything is shared extremely fast by WhatsApp, Twitter and other means of digital communication, makes us more exposed and has multiplied considerably the typology of risks that any brand can face. We are more visible and more vulnerable.
In front of a risky situation, we cannot improvise. We must know what to do, when, how and towards whom. The crisis manual is the best tool to deal with any contingency, the roadmap that every company needs.
The Department of Public Relations of Interface Tourism España, specialized in crisis communication management, follows a methodology that has been developing and optimizing for years. Each monitoring of an eventuality makes us excel at a professional level and grow at a personal level.
How do we do it?
- We investigate the risks that threat your company. In parallel, we elaborate a study that analyzes the current reputation of the brand, immersing us in its past and its present, evaluating its weakest points.
- We elaborate crisis communication manuals, which cover all the scenarios that may lead to a situation of risk, and identify the roles and responsibilities within the agency and within the crisis committee that the client initiates internally. We anticipate situations, pre-writing press releases that can be easily adapted and allow us to quickly offer the first information available, sticking to the facts and without venturing hypotheses or speculations.
- We define a communication strategy and set the guidelines to follow, always from a position of respect, transparency, and without ever lying. Empathy with those affected, especially if there is mortal damage, is paramount. Costs and business strategy should be kept in the background. We modulate what we say, how and when. We always recommend proactivity, moving ahead and taking over what is being said, placing the messages according to our interests. We prioritize the negative opinions of customers and users, especially those who offer us indications to improve our way of acting and communicating.
- We identify the audiences, the famous “stakeholders”, who we need to have controlled and with whom we need to initiate a relationship from the first moment of the crisis. We do not abandon internal communication, since the worker is the best ambassador of the brand, both in crisis situations and the rest of the time. Employees should receive the information from their management, since we stop speculation and convey confidence.
- We carry out crisis-oriented trainings in public speaking, and coach representatives frequently during the year. We design and execute customized contingency communication exercises, in which the practicalities are prioritized and people are trained to know what to do when the dreaded risk situation arrives.
- During the crisis, we monitor the impacts on the media and make reports that give us an accurate picture of what is being said about us at all times. We also implement digital platforms monitoring and analysis systems in real time, and we conduct an active listening.
- Finally, we carry out a post-crisis evaluation, whose key points are collected and added to the contingency manual, which we optimize and improve.
A company that knows how to manage its crisis communication will always grow. If the brand shows that it is prepared for this, that it knows how to solve the situation, that it empathizes with those affected and puts everything in its power to solve the problem, it will reinforce its public image and its credibility.
In short, in light of a crisis there is no option, you can only be prepared and have a professional team with a plan ready to be implemented. We are the best plan for your crisis. Contact us!
By María Sánchez Grela, Managing Director Interface Tourism Spain