The 8 1/2 Cs of Crisis Communications

CBy Dominic Cockram

Corporate Communications is a minefield, and never more so than in times of crisis – take a look at Toyota, G4S and Progressive Insurance to see just how wrong it can go. As experts in Crisis Management, we have seen many companies and clients experience the unpredictable current of crisis comms; here we share with you our top 8 (and a half!) ‘C’s to guide you through the storm.

  1. Be Clear – don’t confuse your audience with technical or legal jargon; be honest and transparent in what you are doing and why you are doing it
  2. Be Consistent – this is a core element of trust, confidence and credibility, so ensure that key messages are consistent across all media (traditional and social platforms) and internal comms
  3. Be Considered – don’t make rash promises you may not be able to keep
  4. Be Current – keep all communications up to date with the latest information and developments
  5. Be Concerned – demonstrate empathy with those affected and express regret for the situation
  6. Be Calm – even in the depths of a crisis you can remain in control
  7. Be Confident – chose a spokesperson who is media trained, fully briefed and preferably experienced at being interviewed
  8. Capitalise on the Coverage – the spotlight is on you: now is your chance to shine. Show the world how well you respond to buoy your brand loyalty and win over new fans

8 1/2. Be Quick – OK so not quite a ‘C’ but… None of the above will have the desired effect if they come too late, and in today’s world of 24-hour news and social media, ‘too late’ happens quicker than ever before.

Make sure your team is fully prepared to hit the ground running: have pre-prepared holding statements, ensure you have a back-up spokesperson, define clear roles and responsibilities in your crisis plan and rehearse your response regularly.

About Dominic Cockram

Founder and MD of Steelhenge. Pioneer of simulation exercises with over 20 years experience in business continuity and crisis management. Dominic is an experienced speaker determined to make the world a more resilient place.

3 thoughts on “The 8 1/2 Cs of Crisis Communications

  1. Pingback: Media Interviews: Whatever you do, don’t do this | Crisis Management

  2. Pingback: Findus’ cautious (and damaging) crisis communications strategy | Steelhenge Crisis Thinking

  3. Pingback: Product Recalls of 2012: Infographic | Steelhenge Crisis Thinking

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