The chaos never ends - This is how targeted crisis communication works

Negative news spreads many times faster than positive news. Unfortunately, this has always been the case and means nothing new in the corporate world. So-called Shitstorms can cause considerable damage, which companies can feel in the areas of image, turnover or even profits.

How such crises are dealt with, how they can be avoided or how companies can even positively influence their image, we reveal to you with our five golden rules of crisis communication. 

Rule No. 1: The optimal preparation

Crises should never leave a company unprepared. Pre-defined strategies and real-world scenarios should prepare a company for crises of any kind. In an optimal preparation, a best- and worst-case analysis is made for each possible crisis to determine possible courses of action. This also includes questions like: Who takes the lead in the crisis? Who informs whom, at what time? Who will act as spokesperson in public and how exactly do I design the optimal crisis team?

All such questions are clarified and usually combine to form the basis for a comprehensive strategy. This is the only way to act completely and at the right time in crises, or even to prevent them altogether.

Rule No. 2: Speed of reaction

The initial reaction on the part of the company is crucial, because hiding in plain sight tends to trigger negative emotions such as anger or lack of understanding in the public. Because silence promotes rumors, which spread at present with lightning speed. However, even a hasty reaction can be fatal. After all, it is important to know the facts, to consider what should be communicated and only then should action be taken. By the optimal preliminary work of rule No. 1, a reaction-quick action is possible despite a considered proceeding. 

Rule No. 3: Internal before external

Employees are not only the heart of a company, they are also crucial to its success. Therefore, the trust of employees is of utmost importance, but can also be lost quickly. To prevent this from happening in times of crisis, it is always important to keep the workforce up to date and to involve them in company decisions. It should be urgently avoided that they only learn this news from the public media. 

Rule No. 4: Strong and consistent messages

Once it is clear which messages should be communicated to the public, it is important to address them proactively, clearly and humanely to the target group. In times of crisis, empathy should above all be expressed in order to even positively influence the image in the best case. Because at such times it is easier for target groups to internalize clear and sympathetic messages. 

Rule No. 5: Visible and accessible 

In principle, transparent, honest and constant communication is always recommended, as regular updates from the company itself minimizes the risk of the media seeking information from other sources. 

In conclusion, it can be said that an authentic and honest public appearance with prepared communication strategies can save companies from many crises and probably offer the best prevention.