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The Role of Communications & Public Relations in Crisis Management

The Role of Communications & Public Relations in Crisis Management. In this presentation:. principles & stages of effective crisis communication risks and consequences credibility tactics. Survey of crisis leadership qualities. Very good article.

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The Role of Communications & Public Relations in Crisis Management

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  1. The Role of Communications & Public Relations in Crisis Management

  2. In this presentation: • principles & stages of • effective crisis communication • risks and consequences • credibility • tactics

  3. Survey of crisis leadership qualities Very good article http://trevorcook.typepad.com/weblog/files/crisis_leadership_allan_schoenberg.pdf

  4. Crisis Communication Lifecycle • Improve appropriate public response in future similar emergencies through education • Honestly examine problems & mishaps & reinforce what worked in response & recovery efforts • Persuade public to support public policy & resource allocation to the problem • Promote activities & capabilities of the agency (organizational identity reinforced internally too) • Crisis audit • Be prepared • Foster alliances • Develop consensus • Test messages • Acknowledge event with empathy • Explain & inform public about risk simply • Establish agency & spokesperson credibility • Provide emergency courses of action & where/hot to get information • Commitment to stakeholders & public to continued communication • Help public accurately understand its own risks • Provide background & content information to those who need it • Gain understanding and support for response & recovery plan • Listen to stakeholder & audience feedback & correct misinformation • Explain emergency recommendations • Empower risk/benefit decision making • Evaluate communication plan performance • Document lessons learned • Determine specific actions to improve crisis systems & plan Rowitz, L. (2006). Public health for the 21st century: The prepared leader. Sudbury, MA: Jones-Bartlett

  5. Key goals of PR during crisis (Covello, 1996) • Prevention: Keep the incident or event from rising to the level of a crisis • Containment: Keep the impact of the crisis on the company to a minimum • Control: Establish company control over the situation – including the media • Communication: Transmit crisis-related messages accurately and quickly so they are received, understood, and believed • Positioning: Position the company in a positive light – caring, concerned, and taking appropriate action to correct the situation • Monitoring: Ensure that crisis-related messages result in meaningful and appropriate actions. Covello, V. T. (February 26,1996). Environmental risk communication and public dialogue. Risk Communication Conference, Hampton, VA.

  6. Inadequate PR during crises can result in: • Raised levels of public anxiety, concern, and fear • Fueled rumors • Inaccurate perceptions of risk • Exaggerated allegations and claims • Injury and harm • Negative images of the company • Loss of shareholder and public confidence • Increased risk of liability

  7. Seven deadly sins of crisis communication (Clarke & Company, 1999) Unpreparedness: The “It Can’t Happen to Me” Absence: Not being on site immediately Ignorance: Not understanding the audience’s needs Silence: Not communicating Distance: Boardroom bunker mentality Fabrication: Anything but the truth Naivete: Not knowing the standards you will be held to

  8. A credible spokesperson is required to deliver a credible risk communication message. In low-trust, high-concern situations, credibility is assessed using four measures: • Empathy, caring & concern (50% rated highest importance, usually assessed in the first 30 seconds; highest value for industry) • Competence, knowledge and expertise (15-20%; highest value for citizen groups) • Perceived honesty and openness (15-20%) • Commitment, dedication (15-20%; highest value for government) • An additional 77 non-verbal cues have been documented to influence perceptions of trust and credibility (Covello, 1992a) • Some links on nonverbal communication: • 3 C’s of credibility in crisis communication • Characteristics for improving credibility

  9. Audience sensitivity may be increased and lead to lower credibility with the following: • jargon (creates a verbal barrier; if you use jargon, define it immediately in 6 common words or less) • humor (no place in high concern, including laughter, jokes, irony, sarcasm) • attacks • worst-case scenarios • risk/benefit comparisons • risk/cost comparisons • risk comparisons • negative allegations • negative words or phrases • promises/guarantees • speculation • money • organizational identity (never use the name of organization as a person or subject of a sentence) • numbers • technicaldetails and debates

  10. Guidelines for talking about risk (Covello et al., 1993) • be balanced and honest; • focus on a specific issue; • pay attention to what the audience already knows; • be tailored to the specific needs of the audience; • place the risk in appropriate context; • contain (at least) the specific information needed to resolve the decisions that members of the audience face; • be hierarchically organized so that people who only want answers can find them quickly & people who want details can also find them; • be respectful in tone and recognize that people have legitimate feelings as well as thoughts; • be honest about the limits to scientific knowledge; • consider and address the broader social dynamics in which risks are embedded; • be subjected to careful empirical evaluation and iterative refinement.

  11. Strategies Most public recovery strategies incorporate the following five components: • Forgiveness: win forgiveness from stakeholders and create acceptance for the crisis • Sympathy: portray organization as unfair victim of attack by outside persons; willing to accept losses • Remediation: offer compensation for victims and families (counseling & financial assistance) • Rectification: take action to reduce recurrence (triple sealed & increased random inspection) • Effective leadership: clear, visible, consistent role-modeled message from beginning by CEO

  12. Some Examples NTSB Press Conference on San Francisco Plane Crash CEO responding to the BP petroleum spill

  13. What do these people have in common?

  14. A proper apology should contain these elements: • A detailed account of the situation • Acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done • Taking responsibility for the situation • Recognition of your role in the event • Statement of regret • Asking for forgiveness • Promise that it won’t happen again • A form of restitution whenever possible “…and so it’s agreed, in order to sharpen our crisis management skills, we’re enrolling in an apology workshop.”

  15. END

  16. Domino’s Pizza Crisis Posted video of Domino’s employees News on the posted video CEO Patrick Doyle’s response Domino’s Turnaround Trendspotting: Domino’s case review Domino’s vids (recovery) Situational Crisis Communication Theory Top 10 Social Media Disasters of 2011

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