Consistency and Credibility: How can you uplift and inspire your organization during a crisis? [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]
7 CRISIS COMMUNICATION TIPS
EVERY ORGANIZATION SHOULD MASTER
#7 Make Sure Your Message Is Consistent Company-Wide
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A crisis doesn’t only cause harm and damage to people and property, but it also causes panic and confusion.
Misinformation can cause a crisis to escalate—the spread of fake news and general speculations mislead people.
Miscommunication is another problem, as organizations sending unclear messages can do more harm than good.
This is why organizations must deliver a consistent message across the different channels they have.
Crises and emergencies can come unexpectedly, which is why effective communication with your customers and employees is crucial during these challenging times.
To help you do this, we at Valens Research provide you with important tips and advice based on the article, “7 Crisis Communication Tips Every Organization Should Master” from Northeastern University’s Communication program.
In our past five articles, we talked about why you should Respond Quickly, how to Leverage Support, why you should Put the Victims First, why you should Not Play the Blame Game, how important Being Transparent is, and how to Perform “What If” Work. This week, our tip is…
Make Sure Your Message Is Consistent Company-Wide
A consistent message across different departments and teams within your company ensures that everyone understands exactly what’s going on, what’s being done, and what needs to be done.
A crisis can happen all of a sudden and information must be disseminated as quickly as possible in order to keep employees safe and properly informed. Informing customers and clients is also crucial since they rely on your products and services.
To help your organization achieve this, it is best to create a written report or document that details what everyone should do when the crisis occurs.
This report will serve as a guide for management and their respective teams, sent through email and other messaging platforms used by the organization.
This internal report must contain the following:
- Departments involved – When delivering a company-wide emergency message, all departments and teams must be informed. Each member is an ambassador of your organization—whatever is communicated to them will be the same thing delivered to customers and clients.
- Communication Plan – The communication plan must contain steps on how to disseminate information properly. This includes how and when the message will be scheduled and the emergency protocols and procedures that need to be done before, during, and after the crisis.
- Channels included – Crisis communication is all about effectively spreading the message to as many people in the shortest time possible. This can include your social media channels and email networks. This can also be applicable to people outside of the company such as your customers and clients.
This internal report ensures that every member of the organization is involved in delivering the right information consistently.
Establishing a plan like this is the crucial first step. You need to be prepared and don’t have to wait for an actual crisis to happen to do it. The next step is to create the message itself. Here are some tips.
During a crisis situation…
- Represent the message of your leaders – Whether it be the head of a department or the CEO, the message must echo the leader’s sentiment. It’s important that the message is correct and firm. A strong message can inspire and uplift people during a crisis, giving them the assurance that they can overcome it.
- Concise and detailed statements work best – Crisis announcements must be brief but should contain all of the important details that people should know. Long statements can be difficult to read, which is why cutting it down to at most a page long can make it easier for readers to read and absorb.
To further illustrate this, let’s take a look at how Virgin Group handled a crisis. In 2014, a test spacecraft for Virgin Galactic crashed, with one pilot dying and another injured.
The crash delivered a huge blow to Virgin Group’s attempt to promote space tourism. This disaster could have been the end of Virgin’s plans for space travel, but how they communicated throughout the crisis helped diffuse the situation.
The public and the families of the pilots were well-informed. Virgin regularly updated their social media accounts and relayed the needed information to various news channels.
The company also remained consistent with their message that, despite the setback, their efforts to make space travel more accessible remain. As stated by their CEO, Richard Branson:
“Space is hard – but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together.”
He also had another later statement, which reads:
“Although we will never forget the tragic loss of Michael Alsbury, with the investigation completed, Virgin Galactic can now focus fully on a strengthened resolve to achieve our goals,”
The message was well-received by the public, thanks to the company’s genuine tone and a strong resolve to recover from the whole incident.
Virgin informed the public of the incident as soon as it happened. They kept everyone updated every step of the way and showed remorse and compassion to those affected. They recognized all the efforts and contributions of the fallen pilot to the project. Richard Branson himself published a blog post stating that he and the whole team are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss.
Crises like these can cause controversy and really hurt a company’s brand image.
By being transparent and delivering a consistent message to your employees and customers, you would be able to address issues immediately and deliver a genuine statement on behalf of your company.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”
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Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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