Is there an acute crisis? Then these 6 first rules of crisis communication will help.
1. Keep calm.
Take a little time to breathe. Think before you speak since what has been said cannot be taken back.
2. Realistic expectations.
No one can undo the crisis, but we can minimize damage as much as possible with communication. Media, observers and third parties should talk and think about you fairly.
Ducking away does not help. If possible, be the first to communicate. In this way, you will be a source of information and not leave the interpretative authority to anybody else.
4. Do not lie.
Mistakes can happen, but lies destroy credibility and trust. The truth always comes out. Lies are a sign of aimlessness and helplessness.
5. Take notes.
Document your previous statements and interlocutor in the crisis. The necessary communication strategy now must take into account what has already been said.
6. Get help.
Focus on your core competencies. You need to solve the original problem - about a production error or the like. Find legal advice. Communication professionals like us cover your back.
Whenever a third party portrays you in a worse light than you see yourself.
Product and error crises
- Errors involving personal injury; criticism from customers, consumers, patients
- Manufacturing defects, recalls, food scandals
- Negative product test results, criticisms of product and service quality
Media and public crises
- Negative reporting
- Critical press inquiries, investigative reporting
- Demonstrations and actions by critics
- Massive protest waves on the Internet, online outcries (shitstorm)
- Negative and offensive articles by individuals or pressure groups
- In blogs, Facebook messages or Tweets
- Defamation against individuals, companies, institutions, brands
- Political conflicts
- Attacks of enemies and competitors
Crime and legal crises
- Investigations, prosecutions and trials under press observation
- Legal and compliance violations by employees
- Criminal threats, product extortion
- Major loss incidents: Accidents, disasters, malfunctions, epidemics
- Mergers&acquisitions crises, takeover battles
Opportunities thanks to escalation
- Targeted crisis escalation for your purposes
- Preference development via the media, politicians and the public
- Risk analysis, develop risk scenarios
- Develop crisis manuals, action plans, accident concepts
- Development of early warning systems
- Integral cooperation with risk management
- Design and implement crisis infrastructure, technology and communication platforms
- Crisis simulations, emergency exercises
- Media and speech training
- Crisis causes early reconnaissance (crisis intelligence)
- Permanent issues identification and risk monitoring (issue anticipation, issue scouting, issue monitoring)
- Reporting form for occurrences of damage and states of emergency
- Crisis intervention
- Situation assessment, strategy development
- Management and control of crisis communication
- Decision-maker and advisory board advice
- Participation in crisis management
- Submit arguments, spread messages
- Press speaker and mediation activity
- Issue, risk and threat control in Internet and media (issue monitoring, issue tracking, issue management)
- Trial escort (litigation PR), cooperation with your lawyers
We are at your disposal. We are your crisis communications experts with years of emergency experience. You reach us at:
+49 (0) 69 - 23 80 79 - 210
Crisis counselling by Gloria Mundi
People and brands have a reputation, have an honour. Or as the historian Winfried Speitkamp says: "Existential crises [...] begin when internal and external views are no longer in compliance. Honour arises in communication; it is presented and negotiated through language, gestures, symbols and things." Honour and reputation are placed in question in certain exceptional circumstances or are even actively attacked. The reasons for this may be many, the friends and enemies as well.
We support you in these situations, advise you and assist you. Your first ally is already set in stone.
Escalation and de-escalation through communication
There are crisis situations, especially when you are attacked, in which communication must de-escalate and the discussion should be considered objectively. Objectivity, comprehensibility and credibility are great virtues. You must be a credible source of information. It was Ernesto Guevara who spoke about revolutionary communication, saying that the "news spread must be true. A lie, no matter how well intentioned it may be, is always worse than the humblest truth."
The situation is different when you have to build up pressure to be heard in order to gain something other than advocates and supporters. If the press is to write for you, should political actors take your issues and positions on the agenda and represent them? Should the public say about your opinion what’s often important today: "Like"? Then communication must escalate sensitively and seriously. There is a fine line between tension and relaxation, strategies need to be converted into fine tactics, the blade must be certain, the pen pointed. Sensitive communication helps here.
In legal disputes, you seek the help of a lawyer as legal counsel. He makes sure within the clear legal movement corridors that you stay ahead, that your positions are chiefly considered in the verdict. The enemy is visible, the judge also, the procedural rules are defined.
But the much more difficult judges, who decide quickly and do not verify clear legal norms, are the public and media opinion leaders. So that you also here have a fair chance to protect your reputation, we support you with sensitive communications. We are there when you want us to be in all the above-mentioned crises, incident and risk situations or more generally, whenever a third party thinks and talks about you quite unlike yourself. We help with all of the above-mentioned measures of crisis communication - in, before and after the crisis.
Use the crisis
In most cases, a crisis is feared as an absolute emergency. But keep your hat on, because with good crisis prevention, attentive risk anticipation and sensible crisis intervention, it is possible to deal with it calmly. Crises are also transitional situations, in which a special and rare freedom prevails to make improvements and renovations. With regard to communication, crises are even opportunities, because often one receives through media and public attention what could only be obtained routinely in peacetime with the greatest marketing expenditure. Take advantage of the current high regard by the public and of your professional crisis management now as an extraordinary opportunity for positive self-representation and presentation of your skills.
Guide to sensitive crisis communication
Some crises seem to appear entirely out of the blue, others can be foreseen on a more or less short notice. In peacetime, you should therefore already prepare for this state of emergency and identify your company’s specific risks. For a description of what matters most in these kinds of situation please see our guide to crisis communication.