Crisis Management: Challenges Affecting Crisis Communication

Creating an effective crisis management plan can be a hard task for any communication team. Not only because of risks associated with crises—including everything from the damage of reputation to loss of key customers—but because creating a detailed plan for an unknown event is a challenge.

Facing these challenges, many communication teams prefer to bury their heads in the sand and wait for a crisis to happen before making an appropriate plan. But, studying well-known crises—among them Lance Armstrong, Virginia Tech, BP, and Dreamworld—crisis communication teams should learn that waiting until the last minute to plan for a crisis is the worst strategy of all.

Learning from past crises, the first step towards winning during a crisis in acknowledging what one is facing. By identifying challenges to crisis communication, brands can identify strategies to overcome them.

Lack of Visibility

Despite having a great message, it can be a challenge to reach a target audience. Reaching an audience isn’t dependent on message templates or updated contact lists that a crisis communication team has. Rather, visibility is dependent on a proactive approach that involves deploying communication technologies before crises.

With communication technology, crisis management teams can monitor in real-time who engages with a message and who doesn’t. With tracking software, communication teams can rise above the lack of visibility by identifying key stakeholders’ actions and adopting the right strategy to reach them.

When a crisis hits, timely response to key stakeholders is far more important. Without visibility, a brand employs misinformed strategies at the wrong time, worsening the situation. However, crisis communication teams can adopt a myriad of information-tracking software, enabling them to tailor their strategies for a specific crisis.

In effect, crisis communication teams would employ key insights to reach target audiences, maximizing their reach and limiting the effects of lack of visibility during a crisis.

Information

Often, when crises strike, boatloads of information become available to whoever is responsible for crisis communication. With information flying in from different angles, crisis communication teams face another problematic issue: low-quality information.