Crisis Management: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

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A crisis management plan is a critical piece of an organisation’s reputation management policy. The battle against Coronavirus (COVID-19) is raging globally, and we are reminded of a few crisis management fundamentals.

 

Lesson 1: A situation can unravel swiftly.

In the first place, a crisis management plan exists as a fail-safe. It mitigates and minimises reputational damage when a crisis hits. This means it’s important to not only maintain, but take seriously in good times. Coronavirus reminds us that at times, signs of a problem are present, but we fail to believe it is necessary to take steps to contain the threat. A situation can unravel swiftly. Similarly, a crisis can grow and take hold swiftly- especially in this digital age.

 

Lesson 2: Timely, accurate communication is everything.

A deficit of timely, accurate, accessible communication in a time of crisis presents problems. When panic takes hold, people look to any and every source of information. This leads to the spread of misinformation, which is damaging to genuine efforts. When a crisis hits your brand, your stakeholders need the same high-quality information from trusted sources, which is so valuable in the fight against COVID-19. Always make sure your organisation steps in to be the authority about your brand. Address the relevant questions and provide the required information to avoid further damage.

 

Take care of your internal stakeholder.

There are many competing voices in any given crisis. Your internal stakeholder deserves to hear the facts and the action plan directly from the organisation’s leadership. In the case of Coronavirus, a country’s government should be a citizen’s first trusted information source about cases in the country, where to access locally-relevant information, and where to find help. No other country should be an authority on what a local government is doing to fight COVID-19. Similarly, don’t leave your internal stakeholder to learn about a reputational crisis or brand damage from external sources. Communicate thoroughly with your internal stakeholder. What is the issue at hand? Who does it affect? What is being done to address the crisis and who are the owners of the process? Ensure that you are also the authority to your own internal stakeholders.

 

 

Every health crisis presents unique challenges to communications. Learn more from Jessica Ilunga about how governments can build credibility and prevent panic, with lessons from the ebola crisis.

 

Stephanie Taderera is a Content Executive at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. To learn more about how we can help you build your brand’s reputation, contact us today.

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