Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 98

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS KEY STEPS TO TAKE DURING A CRISIS what facts can be verified; never speculate or try and guess what happened or why it may have happened,” Rose says. “In al- most all instances, the legal team will guard against statements or sharing information that could end up influencing future litiga- tion. Make sure to also be responsive and respectful of deadlines.” Acting quickly and engaging the right peo- ple will better position your organization to appropriately respond. Jose Hermocillo, partner at Hermocillo-Azevedo Strategic Communications, recommends conven- ing a meeting as soon as possible that in- cludes a cross-functional team. “This team should include subject-matter experts, legal counsel, and the president or CEO if risks are high. Before any statement is made to the media, senior leaders need to arm themselves with as much information as possible from operational managers and others who can verify the facts, assess the risks and help the organization make the best decisions as quickly as possible,” Hermocillo says. How a company addresses the pub- lic during this critical time makes all the difference. “First and foremost, be gen- uine, transparent and take ownership for circumstances as appropriate. Share only HOW TO RECOVER POST-CRISIS People will forgive but not forget, and, according to Hermocillo, organizations cannot resume business as usual because the crisis has passed. “The most important aspect in the post-crisis stage is to meet the expectations created during the crisis,” he says. He emphasizes the company’s words need to be followed by actions. “Post-crisis communications must continue to demonstrate accountability and that the organization remains 100 percent committed to making it right in order to regain the trust of its customers, employees and key stakeholders.” Demonstrating empathy and transpar- ency goes a long way. As Perry says, “The companies that come through a crisis well are those who share information appropri- ately with their stakeholders, the media and the public. They accept blame if the crisis was their fault and announce steps to move past the crisis and any harm done.” While a crisis can present numerous challenges, organizations that are commit- ted to being transparent and collaborative can help shape the narrative and ultimate- ly bounce back. So when disaster strikes, stay calm, stick to your plan and do what needs to be done to make it right. n Christina Kiefer is a communications consul- tant and freelance writer based in Sacramento who specializes in public relations, copywrit- ing, content marketing and strategy. A sea- soned storyteller and wordsmith, she believes that great content paired with the right com- munications strategy is powerful. Clients choose us because of our relationships, problem-solving skills, and breadth and depth of experience. With more than six decades of experience between the partners, we help clients advocate on state and local policy issues and communicate on matters involving litigation, business disputes, workplace controversies, and investigations. HERMOCILLO AZEVEDO STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS 100 | March 2019 LLC 2100 21st Street | Sacramento, CA 95818 | 916.277.9055