Like many of you, our agency has—mostly—returned to the office in the second half of 2022. Although life has transitioned out of quarantine and brought many of us back together in person, we’ve all gained unique tools and ways of doing things that have stuck with us beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. While it has been nice to spend more time with our clients and colleagues, our “return to normal” largely feels like we’ve traded one massive global crisis for many smaller, yet substantial ones.
The crises we face are on numerous fronts. The war in Ukraine has obviously impacted most of the world in myriad ways, while we face inflation, supply chain disruptions, social and political upheaval, energy supply challenges, labor movements, a shifting regulatory environment, bank policy changes and the very real prospect of a looming recession.
Given all these challenges—while also acknowledging the public’s lack of trust in political institutions—there’s a public expectation that corporate leaders take on a larger role in providing insights, guidance and solutions for today’s issues. And although it’s important for corporate leaders to engage the public on these issues, it can often be fraught with risk. Communicating to a public that’s 50 percent split and of diametrically opposed ideologies is a daunting task, as any public comment risks alienating those on either side of the political spectrum.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Jan. '23 Crisis Communications & PR Buyer's Guide Magazine
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There’s no avoiding every one of these global issues affecting a business and its operations, yet how companies and institutions prepare, examine, strategize and react will determine how well each is positioned to succeed with its critical stakeholders once the dust settles.
We believe the best offense is a good defense, and beginning to prepare your enterprise for potential challenges to its mission and reputation before they arrive at your doorstep offers the best chance to avoid major damage in your relationships with customers, employees, investors, the media, and other important constituents. Preparing for a crisis by developing a formal crisis plan will help your enterprise to:
- Outline potential scenarios that could be harmful.
- Develop a framework for determining whether your organization is facing a true crisis or simply a challenging issue that must be actively managed.
- Identify a team of senior executives across all key functions that are prepared to assess and form a consensus about a response.
- Develop strategies and messages to communicate with each of your critical stakeholders.
- Quickly take steps to defend your reputation and restore your standing.
Every organization should be prepared to respond to potential events that will have a negative impact on operations, strategy and/or reputation. By not preparing, you’re ultimately going to find yourself on the backfoot once one of these swirling and boiling global crises touches your organization. There’s no avoiding all challenges, but it’s up to you to determine how well you will be able to respond to protect your bottom line and reputation.
We certainly hope that you’ve come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger, and we at KARV would be happy to help ensure that you continue strengthening your organization by preparing for the complicated and multifaceted global events which impact us all. More information about KARV’s offerings is available at www.KARVcommunications.com or by contacting [email protected].
Andrew Frank is Founder and President of KARV Communications.
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