At present, having the communication skill for crisis communication management implies integrating a set of communication methodologies, techniques, and actions aimed at managing crisis situations with a potential impact on the reputation of organizations, which is essential.
The notion of crisis is associated with change, although not all change comes from a crisis, nor is all change a source of a crisis. We say that there is a crisis when we perceive a certain rupture, a special exceptionality, an alteration of stability and balance, and a sensation of being out of phase and incontinence.
Crisis and change, therefore, emerge as an enveloping situation for contemporary organizations, rich in ruptures and biodegradations, in conflicts, tensions, mistrust, and disagreements.
The individual-group-organization-environment plot places a relative parenthesis on the regular institutional frameworks, getting ready, sometimes hesitantly, to review the gap without even knowing the paths of change and its real effectiveness.
Once the state of crisis is triggered and perceived, the first impact is due to the difficulty posed by characterizing the nature, magnitude, and quality of the required changes—that is, the range of appropriate choices and pertinent decisions. The first correct decision is to assume the following premise:
You don't get out of crises alone.
Most crises can worsen or be resolved with a positive balance for the organization, depending on the quality of the management.
To optimize the quality of our crisis communication strategy, it should be based on the following basic axes:
Anticipation: any foresight exercise carried out before crises will increase the strength of our first responses.
Credibility: It is essential that the contents of the messages to our different internal and external audiences have high levels of credibility.
Opportunity: It is convenient to take into account the quality and quantity of the information that is available and is presented to our interlocutors at each of the different moments in which the crises develop.
Management: the quality of our management capacity is vital within 24 hours of the beginning of the crisis. A large part of the communication capital we have is at stake in the speed and quality of that first response.
Participation: faced with the complex morphology of crises, individual responses are insufficient. Strengthening ties with our internal and external audiences is essential to sustaining ourselves in times of turbulence.
Any organization that facilitates the integration of current developments in the field of institutional communication and management will more fully absorb and overcome the impact of the crisis they may face.
Professionalizing our management in the communication of organizations is always the best anti-crisis prevention. Generally, a series of procedures are used for this.
That are integrated into the Crisis Communication Plan: a master plan that organizes and puts into a system the different components, moments, and supports required for the communication management of organizations that are going through crisis situations.
A crisis communication plan has five complementary stages:
Pre-crisis: a set of strategic surveillance actions applied to anticipate potential risks to the organization's reputation.
Identification: Crises can be characterized by their scope (global or local) and origin (systemic, sectoral, internal). Once the type of risk and/or the scope and origin of the crisis have been identified, it is possible to determine the possible impacts for the organization.
Management: at this stage, the formation of a crisis committee is essential. For this, it will be necessary to bring together a team of professionals with great leadership capacity and unquestionable conduct, coming from the different areas directly linked to the emerging problem.
Communication: after the declaration of the crisis, it is vital to take the initiative from a communicational point of view. Providing "first-hand information" at a constant pace makes it easier to increase the margins of maneuver to position ourselves effectively in front of public opinion.
Post-crisis: once the state of emergency has been overcome and control of the situation has been regained, the last stage of the process begins. For this, it is essential to have
Harm reduction protocols such as actions in social and traditional media, social responsibility projects, etc., to preserve and increase the reputational situation of the company, benefits, compensation, communication actions, etc. may be included.
Finally, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that in a world of recurring crises, thinking prospectively, imagining new scenarios, and the emergence of new business opportunities are essential requirements for the development of any successful communication strategy in contemporary organizations.
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