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4 Ways to Stay Ahead of a Crisis in 2021

iphone with covid19 info on screen with purple background

With a new year underway, you may be asking yourself, how could there possibly be any more crisis after the year we’ve had? Sadly, crisis management never takes a holiday for communications professionals.

Staying ahead of the story and utilizing modern marketing strategies has never been more crucial than right now, and we want you to be prepared for whatever 2021 throws your way.

Monitor Public Perception at All Times

Always keep eyes and ears on what consumers are saying about your brand. Thankfully technology is here to help you, and by taking advantage of real-time alerts and social media monitoring, you will always be in the know. Not only will this help keep you ahead of the game, but it also gives you a chance to interact and engage meaningfully with followers and consumers. The only way to be in control is to be informed, so turn on those Google Alerts and jump in the conversation. 

Play Offense Instead of Defense

It is important to know what questions to ask to stay proactive and prepared for any crisis that may come your way. You can do this by implementing an offensive strategy. No one wants to look back and think, “How did this happen?” Especially when there was something you could have done to prevent the crisis from spinning out of control in the first place. So instead of focusing on defensive strategy, beef up your offense by asking these critical questions:

  • What crisis threats are there currently to my brand?
  • What are the potential outcomes of this action?
  • Who else will be affected when the next crisis hits?
  • What risks are there to our brand’s reputation?
  • What communication systems and protocols are in place to ensure timely and transparent responses?
  • What will be the financial impact of a potential crisis, and are there short and long-term recovery plans set in place?

Be Response Ready

PwC’s 2019 Global Crisis Survey shows that 69% of business leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years, with the average being three. And this was even before the onset of the pandemic. That being said, it is vital for crisis managers to always be response ready. You already know that playing offense is the best defense, and taking the extra step to create a reaction plan could mean the difference between a minor incident and a long-term, brand-damaging crisis. Establishing a reaction plan could mean assembling a task force and ensuring all relevant players are educated on how to react and respond. It could also mean making sure you are script ready and that your team is well-versed on what you can and cannot say. So stop standing there and get to planning!

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Have you ever heard the saying actions speak louder than words or communication is key? Well, it’s true, especially when concerning your brand or business. We live in a world where it is not uncommon for brands to go from wildly popular one day to being canceled the next. To avoid this “cancel culture,” it is always better to stick to the truth. Honest communication can both cultivate and save relationships with consumers. People want to support a brand with accountability, not one who spreads fake news. And if you can’t get your point across with words alone, then show consumers you care by actually doing what you say you will do. Even little white lies can backfire, so stick to transparency and remember, honesty is the best policy.

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