What is crisis communications? Crisis communications refers to any action or initiative with a goal of protecting an organization’s reputation and public image. Any number of factors, including government investigations, criminal attacks, or media coverage could potentially harm an organization’s image. Crisis communication specialists work to fight against any challenge intended to tarnish the organization.

The need for crisis communication may arise from any number of circumstances, including any of the following:

Natural Crisis
This type of crisis usually occurs due to an environmental disturbance and often beyond human control. Examples include hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, landslides, or droughts.

Technological Crisis
A technological crisis occurs due to a technology failure. This could involve corrupted software, machinery breakdown, or any other problem in a technological system.

Confrontation Crisis
A confrontation crisis occurs when fighting takes place among employees. This may result in a strike, boycott, or some other non-productive act. In a confrontation crisis, employees often give ultimatums and refuse to obey orders from superiors. A lack of coordination, ineffective communication, and internal disputes often result in confrontation crisis situations.

Workplace Violence Crisis
As the name implies, a workplace violence crisis occurs when there is any type of violence in the workplace. This could be from an internal or external source.

Crisis Involving Rumors
This type of crisis is usually the result of spreading false rumors about the brand and organization. In some instances, such rumors may be the work of a competitor but could also come from a disgruntled employee.

In most cases, such challenges arise quickly and without warning. Crisis communication teams may work in-house or be hired on a consultancy basis to overcome difficult situations that could harm an organization’s reputation and brand identity in the quickest and best possible manner.

As part of the crisis communications process, organizations will often be instructed to meet the problem head on and discuss it. This includes holding discussions with key clients and possibly even enlist their help. Rather than ignoring the media, crisis communications teams will often work with organizations to answer media questions.

Effective communication is one of the most important elements in any crisis communications initiative. During an emergency situation, it is vital for management to discuss concerns with employees as well as other key stakeholders.

Information should across all departments within the organization in an organized manner. Without proper dissemination of information, assumptions and guesswork tend to arise. It is vital to ensure that all information released is accurate. Additionally, there may instances in which information must be kept confidential.

In an emergency situation, decisions must often be made quickly. In many such instances, it is necessary to have alternate plans to ensure smooth functioning. This often means being able to think outside the box and respond quickly but effectively.

Crisis situations can have significant effects on the financial well-being and long-term future of an organization. While it can be difficult to avoid a crisis situation, an experienced crisis management team can help to mitigate the effects of a crisis situation.

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