Three Pitfalls Crisis Management Teams Must Avoid

CSI - Courtroom Sciences Inc


A crisis is a harsh climate in which to operate. Yet, the reality of a global 24/7 news and social media cycle means that a single event, such as a data breach, workplace incident, faulty product, or egregious employee behavior, can set off a crisis with the devastating potential to hurt your organization's ability to do business. No brand or industry is immune. To avoid potential catastrophe, there are three pitfalls that your crisis management team must avoid.

Courtroom Sciences knows that the stakes are incredibly high during a crisis, with your company's reputation on the line. After a triggering event occurs, the crisis can quickly escalate, especially if it includes a narrative that captures the public's attention. An organization has a limited window of time to create the psychology-based messaging that will resonate in a crisis. Our crisis and litigation communications experts have the expertise to help protect your reputation and mitigate litigation risks before, during, and after a crisis.

 

What are the biggest pitfalls a crisis management team should avoid?

A crisis management team should avoid these three big pitfalls: responding defensively, failing to consider their audience, and insufficient preparation. Avoiding these three pitfalls is key to responding effectively to any situation.


Pitfall #1: Responding Defensively

Although it is not uncommon to face a crisis from a defensive position, a company cannot afford to let itself respond defensively. When a company rushes to defend itself and its point of view, it can make the public perceive the business as self-serving and tone-deaf. Unfortunately, the initial crisis response often sets the tone and is the foundation for subsequent reporting and everything that follows, meaning there aren't many chances for a do-over. 

Attorneys, in particular, are often prone to rushing to their client's defense. However, rather than becoming defensive or blame-shifting, companies must understand what fuels the crisis and get to the root cause. Next, they should examine how their organization is being perceived and focus on addressing the concerns of the public and other stakeholders. Often the key to dispersing a social media mob, in particular, is to see through their eyes before formulating a response. Getting to the situation's core will help companies respond more effectively. 


Pitfall #2: Failing to Consider Their Audience 

Crises are inherently stressful situations, and individuals under stress may make poor decisions that could unintentionally worsen or extend a crisis. Amid a crisis, even well-intentioned business leaders are susceptible to wanting to defend themselves or shift blame rather than considering their audience's perspectives. Yet, instead of considering the views of their ultimate audience, messaging that addresses the organization's fears while ignoring the concerns of key stakeholders will often be seen as self-serving, disingenuous, or misdirected.

When a crisis breaks, an organization needs to work to understand the perspective of stakeholders, display a genuine concern for their best interests, and communicate with the public on their terms. Business leaders can establish credibility by taking responsible actions and sharing the company's steps to ensure similar incidents do not occur in the future. The company's actions demonstrate to its audience that its values align with those of its audience. 


Pitfall #3: Insufficient Preparation  

Facing a crisis that requires immediate action, it may seem counterintuitive to advocate against an 'all hands on deck’ response. But too many individuals without a clear plan are likely to create chaos in these situations, leading to potentially severe and long-lasting consequences. To avoid a possible catastrophe, organizations cannot wait until a crisis hits to commence crisis preparations.

Successfully dealing with emergent, high-risk, and high-profile situations requires that crisis preparation begins long before any issue occurs. Businesses need a comprehensive and actionable crisis plan prepared, documented, and ready to activate when disaster strikes to help ensure they are equipped to face any crisis. Organizations can effectively prevent, mitigate, manage, and recover from a crisis by implementing psychology-based crisis communications strategies.

Stressful and urgent crises require that businesses respond quickly and effectively. Mitigate the risks of a crisis by including crisis communications experts who are adept at creating psychology-based messaging as part of your crisis management team. Courtroom Sciences' crisis and litigation communications experts can help you prepare for a crisis with plans, policies, and practices that protect and defend your business, brand, and reputation. Please speak with one of our critical communications experts to get started. 

 

Key Takeaways

● A crisis management team should avoid three of the biggest pitfalls: responding defensively, failing to consider their audience, and insufficient preparation.

● When a company rushes to defend itself, the business can be perceived as self-serving and tone-deaf.

● Messaging that addresses the organization's fears instead of the audience will often appear disingenuous or misdirected.

● To avoid a possible catastrophe, organizations cannot wait until a crisis hits to commence crisis preparations.

● Courtroom Sciences' crisis and litigation communications experts are adept at creating psychology-based messaging that will resonate in a crisis. 

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