Ops, A Crisis Hit. Now What?

Ops, A Crisis Hit. Now What?

By Maira Manesco

Well, if you haven’t said this yet, at some point you will. The difference will be in what you do after you say this. Basically, there are two options: panic and have no clue of what to do or, as we hope that you will – be prepared and put your crisis plan into action.

A crisis, according to the dictionary, is a moment of disorder, followed by a search for a solution. In a corporate context, Luecke[1] says that a crisis represents anything which has the potential to cause subtle or serious damage to the employees, the reputation or the financial results of a company. In the latter case, a communications strategy manages to interfere very little. However, when it comes to internal crises and image crises, a well planned and well structured communication is of extreme importance.

In this blog, we have already discussed a couple of different types of crises, including one that is quite common these days, the social media crisis, which impacts directly on the image of an organization. Apart from this, we have commented on how to avoid external crises generating internal problems, by communicating, before anyone else, the employees.

Now, returning to the main point of our discussion, before confronting a crisis, we need to be prepared for it. In other words, we need to know how to do crisis management before the crisis hits. That is acting strategically!

The first step is to analyze, through a macro perspective, the direct and indirect processes and procedures, both conscious and subconscious, within the company. This will help identify where potential crises hide. After having done this, it is time to study what types of aids are necessary to improve the management of a crisis, from a perspective of both efficiency and effectiveness. Now, we have the basis for crisis management, but much more is required.

It is necessary to analyse the main executives of the company and assess their posture in situations involving a lot of pressure. For example, a very shy person will most likely have difficulties positioning him- or herself in relation to employees or the press in a crisis situation.

Having defined these pillars, you can initiate the production of a crises manual, where all the important information brought forward during the analysis are explained with its solutions and different stages. Moreover, the selected executives need to participate in a media training focused on crises situations, learning this way how to respond in these types of situations. This process might seem simple, but is it essential that companies have access to  communications professionals who are specialized in crisis management and are able to translate the training into truly strategic and practical knowledge, without letting anything slide.


[1]LUECKE, Richard. Gerenciando a Crise: Dominando a Arte de Prevenir Desastres. São Paulo: Editora Record, 2009.

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