A communication crisis isn't always what brings a business down - sometimes it can be the result of poor planning and bad reactions from the company as it tries to work through the incident. Here are ten common ways manufacturers can stumble in a communication crisis. Is your team prepared to handle the unexpected in the right way?
1. Neglect to plan ahead for crises typical to manufacturing. Being able to withstand the impact of a media crisis starts long before an incident occurs.
2. Blindside employees with news of a major company change. Telling the media before bringing employees up to speed is a sure way to create internal turmoil and even unwanted media attention.
3. Lose sight of an issue's potential impact on the surrounding community. Overlooking communication to the surrounding community may foster mistrust, misperceptions and long-term conflict.
4. Keep the board of directors in the dark about major issues that impact the organization. Organizations can face crises of their own making when the board loses confidence in its executives for no other reason than they failed to communicate effectively.
5. Fail to train all employees on their role should a crisis occur. Some incidents occur when executives trained in crisis communication are unavailable and well-meaning employees choose to speak to the media on their own.
6. Assume the story will go away if you ignore media calls. Even situations that have legal ramifications need a media response. Attempting to turn the media away actually tends to encourage more attention, which can sometimes be more damaging than the lawsuit or legal issues the company was hoping to avoid through its silence.
7. Miss the opportunity to tell your side of the story. While media responses often come with risk, when well-crafted and carefully developed, it can serve to improve the organization's standing among the community and its stakeholders.
8. Overlook the importance of keeping employees well informed during a crisis. Disregarding an audience as critical as company employees can create unnecessary conflict at a time when the organization needs the support of its most loyal community ambassadors.
9. Rely solely on the media to get the message out. Giving key stakeholders the facts on an incident or issue takes more time and effort than putting out a news release, but it can help counterbalance negative publicity and protect the organization's long-term reputation.
10. Ignore the chance to learn from the incident. Organizations that survive communication crises should recognize the opportunity for growth. Taking time to review the sequence of events and practice hindsight can be instructive at every level of the operation.