No business is immune to a crisis. Big or small, your B2B organization will likely face a crisis at some point in time. The question is what is B2B crisis communication and what should you do when a crisis strikes. This blog post will answer these questions to help you prepare for the worst.
What is a crisis? A crisis is an unexpected threat that requires serious attention. It threatens your operations, and its consequences relate to life, reputation, property and/or stock value. If not handled properly, a crisis can hurt your reputation as well as cause you to lose customers and revenue. You may also lose the respect of suppliers, customers, stakeholders, communities, employees and government officials.
Some examples of crises include workplace accidents, natural disasters, employee grievances, product defects, federal investigations, and cyber attacks. B2B crisis communication involves proactive engagement to protect or enhance your corporate reputation during a crisis.
The best way to tackle a crisis is to prepare for one before it strikes. You need to plan for crises at the C-Suite level, as direction needs to come from the top of your organization. Have a crisis response plan and social media crisis management plan in place well before disaster hits. Create and publicize your internal crisis plan ahead of time. Conduct regular crisis simulations to prepare for difficult circumstances in advance of actual nightmares.
Build a crisis response team ahead of time as well. This should include HR team members, legal counsel, media coordinators, spokespeople and members of your C-Suite. Spokespeople should have experience dealing with the media including local, regional, national, print and online publications. Conduct media training and coaching before a crisis occurs, so your spokespeople are prepared to speak publicly on behalf of your company.
You can also have pre-written template statements before crises happen. Have your legal team review these templates to ensure you are not in any legal jeopardy.
Social media monitoring is essential during a crisis. Make sure you respond quickly to comments when appropriate. Pause all regularly scheduled social media posts to focus solely on the crisis at hand and avoid any promotional or overly positive posts.
Keeping lines of communication open is vital during a crisis. Never say no comment. Do not shut down communication even if your legal team advises you to do so because public opinion will fill information vacuums with damaging conjecture. Keep employees informed during the crisis, as they are your biggest advocates to the public.
It’s important to take responsibility for what went wrong and avoid blaming others. Always tell the truth. Be transparent and show compassion for those affected by the crisis.
Are you preparing for a crisis? Contact the pros at the Borenstein Group, a Top DC marketing agency. We can help you get ready for when a crisis strikes.