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.
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.
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