Marketing Strategy Facilitation

Planning for the Worst: Incorporating Crisis Communications into your Strategic MarComm Plan

By Jen Neumann on May, 4 2017
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Fresh Thinking by de Novo.

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On April 22, 2017, news broke that another video surfaced on social media of an airline passenger being mistreated by staff - this time on an American Airlines flight. 

The airline immediately took responsibility and is investigating the incident. Officials say that the video does not reflect their values of "patience and empathy."

If it isn't clear to business owners for whom customer service is key, it's time to up your game on training your employees not only in patience and empathy, but in de-escalation tactics, how to handle the pressure of the situation and to understand that at any time, they may be being recorded and even broadcast live. Their response is incredibly important to the well-being of the company, and our societal standards are being pushed - hard - to force the issue.

The terms patience and empathy were interesting and telling words to use. They've always been important but the term empathy has only recently become a sought after trait in recruiting employees - and it's in shorter supply in the working generation/s.

If your company does already have  a communications plan in place, make sure you have an up-to-date element that addresses procedures for critical events - internally and externally and includes social and news media training. And now for the hard part - you have to practice it with your employees and make sure they understand how to respond and when to move it up the chain of command (and who exactly is in the chain of command). Employees must also have the tools to respond with your company values in mind and how to handle the very intense pressure of confrontation and the use of media as a way to evidence the response.

We used to say "Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the paper tomorrow." That's changed. It's instant. It's shareable and it's potentially far more damaging. Equip your employees at every level with the communications training they need to respond and support them with ongoing practice and drills to keep it top of mind and develop a comfort level with it.

Want to learn more? View our slideshare presentation to get the elements of a successful plan. By planning in advance, you buy yourself a few precious moments of time and are prepared with a planned response protocol to follow.

de Novo Marketing helps companies build strategic marketing and communications plans and provide employee trainings to help companies provide the best internal and external communications. If you don't have a plan that addresses customer service and critical response, make sure you take steps to address the gap.


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