Friday, April 5, 2013

Issues and Crises: A Look at Crisis Communications

Let's talk about Crisis Communications. This past week, my social media class had the chance to listen to two great guest lecturers specializing in crisis communications. The first, Melissa Agnes, discussed the differences between issues and crises with negative situations. Melissa taught me that issues can range from negative tweets or comments directed toward a particular brand, but issues never truly threaten the reputation of the brand. True crises are much more serious than issues, often involve high emotions, and can affect major stakeholders.

The next guest speaker was Jonathan Bernstein, who gave us great advice about being successful in crisis communications. Jonathan told us in order to be a successful crisis communicator, you need to be a swift thinker, skilled writer, and able to speak in front of all kinds of different audiences for different situations.

An example of a large company forced to succeed in crisis communications is Walt Disney Company. In June 2009, Disney faced the crisis of a fatal monorail crash in Walt Disney World. Two monorails ran into each other, killing the pilot of one of them. This traumatic event required serious professionals in crisis communication. Disney's spokespeople stated the facts, continually released information, offered sincere sympathies for the family affected, and never withheld information. These are just a few best practices when it comes to dealing with crisis communications.

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