We have said it before, sometimes incidents are not the result of weather, cyberattacks or other things that can disrupt delivery. They are often unforeseen things such as media scandals. And, in some cases, they can be scandals at another company that impact your industry as a whole.
Take the recent Volkswagen scandal where they admitted to creating software on their diesel-powered 4-cylinder cars that would trick emissions tests to allow their vehicles to pass. VW has long been an advocate of diesel vehicles and was among the leaders in the diesel vehicle industry. As an industry, diesel car sales peaked in May 2015 with close to 9,300 vehicles sold. When the scandal hit, sales of diesel cars plummeted. By January 2016, only 222 cars were sold in the United States. This is a very steep decline from the 4,448 sold the previous January. Smaller sedans experienced the brunt of the diesel scandal; however, all diesel makes and models, not just Volkswagen, had sales declines.
When these unexpected events create a crisis at your company, what should you do? After all, as Warren Buffet said, “It can take 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to destroy it.” And, unfortunately, sometimes your reputation can be at risk from situations at other companies tangentially related to your company.
Incident Management Tips:
- Activate your Crisis Management Team: Do this the moment you get an inkling that there could be an issue that could impact your business. Sometimes, just having the team activated to perform necessary risk assessment and formulate a plan will be all you need to do. We are sure that other automakers immediately assessed their risk based on the VW issues and potential blow back on them, warranted or unwarranted as it may be. At the very least, ensure there are no “skeletons” in your own closet as you can be sure that others will begin looking in your company’s direction, too. And, if there are, have a plan to address those issues—sooner, rather than later.
- Be Proactive and Transparent: Even if the issue does not impact your company directly, be ready to communicate how you address the same things and your approach. You need to appear that you are not hiding anything. Doing so will help establish trust in your company that is, hopefully, doing things the right way.
- Brief the Entire Company: Let your entire company know what is going on in the industry and that there could potentially be some impact on your business. Be clear in your expectations about how they should communicate and what actions they should take if a situation comes up in order that you can adequately manage the communications channels.
How to Use This Information
If you find your company, potentially, looking at a reputational issue, the way you handle it will directly impact the issue’s lasting effects. Even if your company is just in a potential sphere of risk and nothing is there that would impact your business, you should be prepared. It is a time to keep your team sharp and practice reputation crisis management which includes close collaboration, accurate communications and timely messaging. We can help simplify all of this with a crisis management and incident management tool, such as MissionMode’s Situation Center™. Schedule an online demonstration or call us today at 312-455-8811.