Mon 31 / 10 / 16
Hallowe'en Special: How to handle scary media when a crisis hits your business
In time for Hallowe'en, Chamber members AB Business Training have written a blog post on how to handle scary media when crisis hits your business.
On Hallowe’en our thoughts turn to things scary and you only have to look at today’s Argus website to see how many businesses or organisations suddenly find themselves at the heart of a pulse-raising situation - there’s the Lewes County Hall fire, a prison riot and, of course, the Southern Railway industrial action, to name just three.
If your organisation experienced a crisis too, you might be tempted to think the media are best avoided or given as little information as possible, in the hope the story will go away or receive minimum coverage.
Think again and here’s why:
•Journalists won’t stop covering the story just because you choose to say little or nothing to them; in fact, the reverse is often the case: reluctance or reticence piques their interest. Are you trying to hide something? Why do you appear to be less than forthcoming?
•Reporters have their audience uppermost in their minds, so if your organisation has a responsibility to the public and is accountable to them, the reporter will be driven to find answers their audience might reasonably expect to hear, regardless of the journalist’s personal interest in the story
•and just because you won’t appear for an interview or give clear answers, the journalists will find everyone and anyone who will say something about how you’re handling your crisis…and you have NO CONTROL over those voices. So in those examples I highlighted this could be disgruntled commuters or relatives of prisoners - indeed, it might even be the so-called “expert”, who probably knows little or nothing about your organisation specifically, but might make some wild and damaging generalisations.
So, if you find yourself caught up in the maelstrom of a crisis, whether that’s a damaging judgment by health inspectors, the boss quitting suddenly, or the announcement of a major profits warning, remember: the journalists are in their comfort zone, they love a good story and by that we mean a bad story.
So don’t make a grim situation worse by running for cover or by retreating behind a screen of ambiguity and obfuscation.
The smart thing to do is to be open and forthcoming, or else you’ll be perceived as an organisation clinging to lifebelts whilst saying, “There’s no problem here!”.
But if the thought of talking to the media seems almost as scary as the crisis itself, speak to us about Media Training or Crisis Management Training.
Our courses are always fun, with no frights!
10% discount for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce members.
If you want to contribute to the Chamber blog, contact Matilda on firstname.lastname@example.org