“Thank you for all your hard work, with love”
- Tamzin Outhwaite, actress
Running a business in a recession or difficult economic times can seem as if crisis management is a daily occurrence. Coping with challenges is part of running a business and as long as you have control of the situation you can manage a successful outcome. But what happens if you get the dreaded call from the media and suddenly it seems that a relatively containable problem is about to explode?
Bad news not only affects you and your staff, it can also affect your stakeholders and suppliers and, at its worst, your customers, potential and current. How can you ensure that whatever appears in the media carries your messages and gives you the opportunity to achieve the best outcomes?
Firstly, if a crisis occurs be prepared in case you get the dreaded call from a journalist. Prepare a ’statement against enquiry’ that gives your side of the story. They will probably want more. So that you are fully prepared for those tricky questions, and to prevent journalists putting words in your mouth, write a Q&A document, asking yourself all of those questions you don’t want to be asked. How you answer these is crucial.
Secondly, don’t panic. A good journalist can get you to talk about things you’d rather keep secret, especially if you discover they have a good source for the story. It is essential that you remain calm, positive and appear totally willing to engage with them and give them a story. The key thing is to only give them the story you would want to read in the newspaper. Don’t let the conversation become a confessional, always be aware of what you are saying and, most importantly, how you are saying it.
You can weigh up the value of a pro-active or re-active strategy. On the whole, we believe the former is best. A re-active strategy immediately puts you on the defensive, so that you are having to answer for something, rather than giving the story from your perspective in the first place. Often you may be faced with a difficult situation where damage limitation is the most you can hope to achieve.
To find out more about how we can handle your crisis management call us on 01582 537137.