Internal communication has become a critical part of how companies think about crisis. As we know, some of the best ways to limit damage from a crisis are planning and preparing. Thinking through potential crisis situations, creating a response plan and practicing regularly can help an organization reduce fallout from a crisis or reputation disaster, if not avoid it from happening in the first place.
We expected good things from 2021. Instead, it delivered large doses of frustrating virus protocols, political turmoil, mistrust, disinformation and reputation gaffes. Classic PR blunders generated headlines when leaders failed to learn from history. Here are a few cautionary tales as we look to 2022.
This month’s dialogue takes a slight variation from our usual route. We won’t explore an operational topic, such as ‘What to do during a crisis when your CEO goes off-script.’ Instead, as it’s nearly 2022, we’ve asked two crisis communicators to consider 2021 trends and discuss what they believe 2022 will bring. Our dialoguers are Sonia Diaz, SVP, Balsera Communications and president, Hispanic Public Relations Association USA (HPRA) and Jenelle Eli, senior director, media relations + international communications, American Red Cross.
Some learnings emerged from our survey of nearly 300 communicators conducted in October and November 2021. The most newsworthy was what issues are concerning crisis pros. Besides COVID, they include: DEI, misinformation/disinformation, activism, cyber, natural disasters and employee/executive misconduct.
Companies are collections of people. So, one way to judge them is how they measure up during challenges, or a crisis. A Salesforce survey of 12,000 global consumers and 3,600 B2B buyers provides evidence.Polling people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey found 90 percent say how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness.
There used to be a belief that businesses could, and indeed should, stay away from the campaign trail. Sure, they donate to candidates and often have lots of lobbyists. But, it was not seen as their role to try and support or strengthen the democratic process itself. That all changed in 2020.
Viewing the threat of ransomware through numbers illustrates its gravity. It takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a breach and costs $1.85 million to remediate, double the 2020 figure. More than half (52 percent) of all breaches are deemed malicious.
More than half of organizations compromised in the past three years deployed some form of automated security system. This suggests that technology alone is not enough. The IT team must purposefully build, review and test a cybersecurity plan. So, how can communicators contribute? They can partner with experts to clearly explain this complex topic to the C-suite and employees.
Jes Staley wasn’t the first financial-sector heavyweight to step down after reports surfaced that he had ties with the late, notorious Jeffrey Epstein. Preceding the CEO of Barclays to the exits was billionaire Leon Black, CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm. Similarities between the Staley and Black stories are useful for crisis communicators.