When a crisis hits or your business is disrupted due to any unexpected event, the media will come a-knockin’. That’s why it’s so important to have a detailed, quality business continuity plan in place and to understand the role that the media play in the public’s perception of not only the crisis itself but how your organization handles it.
WHY THE MEDIA?
Making the media your ally is important in the immediate aftermath of a crisis or business disruption. The sooner you can respond with an official statement, the better off you’ll be, but the key with media is transparency. Your organization’s reputation is fragile in these moments and the public is quick to demand an honest, transparent response.
Remember, it is the media’s job to find the truth, so make their life and your recovery easier by being honest from the very beginning.
Just because the media is an important part of your incident management and business continuity plan doesn’t mean anyone and everyone should be giving a statement. In fact, that could be downright detrimental to your company’s goals. Identify a spokesperson or spokespeople and make sure they are trained well in how to handle the media. Your spokesperson should be recognized as the only authorized person to speak with the media following a crisis. Train all other employees on how to direct media requests and the importance of why they should avoid speaking directly with the media.
DEVELOPING A STATEMENT
When developing your official statement, BC managers should take into account the chatter growing on social media. Use the questions being asked through social media to inform the answers you provide in your statement. Though a double-edged sword, social media hands you the main concerns of the public in a very real, raw form so you can use that to your advantage and make sure you’re not leaving people with unanswered questions that may ignite a fire.
It’s also important to avoid jargon and acronyms and to keep your message short and succinct as well as conversational. If you pack your statement with flowery adjectives and hard-to-understand jargon, the public will likely react as though you are trying to hide something worse. Speak to them on their level and get out the necessary information to address questions and concerns quickly.
Distributing fact sheets about your organization to the media along with your statement can help them do their jobs quickly and accurately while keeping you in control of the message. Develop a tool that provides necessary facts about your organization’s size, number of employees, geographic location, information about your products/services, annual sales, etc. Getting a full picture of what your business is all about will help avoid a narrowly painted picture of the particular incident at hand.
HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION
There’s much more to know about handling the media and building relationships with outlets before, during, and after a crisis to produce a constructive, honest and positive narrative. But there are also many more pieces to the BC Management puzzle when it comes time to respond to and prepare for a crisis.
For more information on the tools Business Continuity Managers need to optimize planning and communication, check out our whitepaper with all the information you need.
MissionMode is the trusted leader in providing organizations with an effective and reliable emergency notification and incident management system specifically designed to handle your needs from end to end. Our Situation Center Suite acts as a virtual command center in times of crisis, helping your organization stay on track through both emergencies or more routine operations by enabling your team to effectively communicate and project manage incidents from onset to resolution. The MissionMode Notification Center allows our clients to send two-way multimodal notifications to employees during times of crisis.
From incident management to mass notification to interactive field communications, mobile control, integrated weather planning and more, MissionMode’s team of seasoned and certified emergency managers and business continuity practitioners are dedicated to being an intuitive and easy to use partner in your incident management and mass communication needs.