William Joseph Communications

Crisis Communications 101

When the wrong film was announced as the winner of Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, all eyes immediately fell on a befuddled Warren Beatty. Moments later, after he shared his side of the story with the millions watching at home, scrutiny fell on PwC, the accounting authority responsible for overseeing the ballots. For an organization whose reputation hinges on its commitment to due diligence, accuracy and integrity, a gaffe of this magnitude required a swift response.

Welcome to the world of crisis communications. It’s important for businesses of all sizes, and the individuals associated with them to understand the importance of concise communications in a crisis, so key players can respond proactively, not reactively. While the definition of a crisis can be broad in scope, as it relates to businesses we will focus on three main threats: public safety, financial loss and reputation loss.

Recently, the cities of Calgary and Fort McMurray experienced crises that affected public safety, namely the flood of 2013 and the fire of 2016. Whether the crisis in question is environmental, operational or personal, a strategic communications plan is imperative. Let’s explore some best practices and principles surrounding crisis communications which aim to moderate threats to reputation, finances and security.

1. Stay Ahead of the Story

Don’t wait for an issue to break and never allow the narrative surrounding your business to be dictated by external sources. It’s important to always stay one step ahead by taking initiative if there’s an inkling that unfavourable news will break.  Communicating with stakeholders quickly, directly and openly is critical in keeping control over what news is being shared and why.

2. Stay in the Know

The sooner you know about an issue that may hit the headlines, the better. Be pre-emptive and monitor a variety of news sources relevant to your business daily to stay apprised of any media mentions. Conduct frequent scans of relevant information sources like social media tools, traditional media and blogs, and connect with those responsible for reporting. If and when an issue is detected, you can act accordingly to issue an appropriate response and mitigate the impact to your organization.

3. Communicate with all Stakeholders

It’s imperative that all stakeholders are informed when a crisis breaks, including those who are directly and indirectly affected. Employees, the board of directors, the media, partners, suppliers, and government agencies are groups that likely require immediate information, and as such, messaging tailored to each group should be created. There is nothing worse than hearing about a crisis from a third-party, so be proactive with your communications and respect your stakeholders’ right to information.

4. Honesty is the Best Policy

As the old adage goes, honesty is incredibly important, especially during a crisis. Providing a truthful account of the situation is paramount to maintaining credibility and integrity, so consider all the facts when crafting your communications. A crisis is not always a threat, and while it may appear as such, it can evolve into an opportunity. The way an organization responds to a crisis can shape the public’s perception and leave a lasting impression, so respond honesty.

5. Have a Plan

It’s important that everyone is on the same page in times of crisis. While many organizations have general communications guidelines regarding disclosure and procedures, a dedicated crisis communications plan is invaluable. A strong plan should provide the following:

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
> Back to Blog

Twitter

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 9:22am
https://t.co/lIVXQDbLXc

If you do it right, your marketing is a long-term investment. Super interesting read, check it out! #YYC #Marketing
2
2
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 at 10:03am
"Content is king" but a visually appealing website is important too. Read our blog to find out how to achieve both!
https://t.co/KF0MGEEtgY https://t.co/WRnXLhiI1N
wj_agency photo
2
1

Facebook

William Joseph Communications

We are the difference between momentary achievement and enduring success. Your success requires an agency that offers a fully integrated solution. One that has the vision to see beyond your current borders and the troops to guide you there. With us as your allies, be confident that you can achieve your boldest ambitions. At William Joseph we offer complete marketing solutions composed of strategies, tactics, and designs that effectively tell your story and address your unique marketing goals. Everything from advertising campaigns to experiential design, our team takes your corporate identity and translates it through a wide array of mediums to successfully champion your company.
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsMonday, June 26th, 2017 at 5:16pm
We have been working on a special video project as a tribute to our great country. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, check out this clip!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph Communications added 3 new photos.Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 at 11:34am
Team WJ is currently working on a fun Canada 150th project! Can't wait to show you guys what we've been up to next week!
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsWednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 5:31pm
As a symbol of Calgary's cowboy culture for more than 40 years, Ranchman's Cookhouse & Dancehall Inc. is the city's most celebrated Western bar. After the passing of co-owner Harris Dvorkin a new ownership group was announced that is committed to preserving Harris' legacy and maintaining Ranchman's iconic status. We were ecstatic to finally be able to share the news last week and are very honoured and privileged to work with the new ownership group on the branding and marketing for this iconic venue. Check out some of our work!

http://www.williamjoseph.com/clients/ranchmans/
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsTuesday, June 20th, 2017 at 12:45pm
We've heard it a million times - content is king. But in todays digital world, having a visually appealing website is just as important. So, what do you do when you have a lot crucial content that you need displayed on your business' website? Check out our latest blog post to find out!

http://www.williamjoseph.com/blog/three-tips-to-design-a-content-heavy-website/
William Joseph Communications
William Joseph CommunicationsMonday, June 19th, 2017 at 4:41pm
Ryan had a great time chatting with EnergyNow.ca at their Energy Dialogues podcast last week. Stay tuned for more WJ and EnergyNow collaborations coming your way soon!

Instagram

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 at 11:36am
  • 81
  • 3
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 12:43pm
  • 63
  • 1
Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 5:06pm
  • 87
  • 3
Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 4:35pm
  • 99
  • 2
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 4:58pm
  • 89
  • 2