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5 crisis communication animals you should be like

Good crisis communication strategies can save organisations from ruined reputations and business failures. RiskSTOP's Johnny Thomson offers five wildlife-related tips to make crisis communication work better...

Everything running smoothly? Even if it is, that’s just how it is today. But what about tomorrow? In a fast-paced business environment, crises can arise unexpectedly with significant impact on a company's reputation and bottom line.

Whether it’s a product recall, a data breach, a social media mishap or a global health issue (yes, we’ve all been there) the stakes are high and the clock is always ticking. However, good communication is your friend in any critical situation. Several species in our natural world seem to have much of this figured out already. So, here are five quick, animal-related, essential tips for more effective crisis communication:

1. Be proactive, not reactive, like a cat: It's crucial to have a crisis communication plan in place before a crisis occurs. Identify potential risks and develop strategies to address them. Anticipate possible scenarios and prepare key messages, designated spokespersons, and communication channels in advance. Being proactive allows you to respond quickly and confidently during a crisis, minimising damage and maintaining trust.

2. Communicate with transparency and empathy, like a gorilla: In times of crisis, honesty and empathy are critical. Provide accurate information promptly, acknowledging the situation and its impact on stakeholders. Avoid speculation or misinformation. Show empathy and understanding towards those affected, and express concern for their well-being. Authentic communication builds trust and credibility, even in difficult situations.

3. Coordinate messaging across all channels, like a meerkat: Consistent messaging is essential during a crisis. Ensure that all communication channels, including social media, press releases, and internal communications, convey the same information and tone. Coordinate with all stakeholders, including employees, customers, partners, and the media, to ensure consistent messaging and avoid confusion.

4. Monitor and respond to social media, like a wolf: Social media can amplify a crisis, and misinformation can spread way too rapidly. Monitor social media channels closely to stay aware of what is being said about your company and the crisis. Respond promptly to correct misinformation, provide updates and address concerns. Social media can also be an effective tool for disseminating accurate information and to manage the narrative during a crisis.

5. Learn from the experience, like a fox: After the crisis is resolved, take the time to review and learn from the experience. Carry out a thorough post-crisis analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses in your crisis communication strategy. Use the lessons learned to update and improve your crisis communication plan, so you’re better prepared for future challenges.

Effective crisis communication is crucial for businesses to protect their reputation and navigate challenging situations successfully. By bringing a bit of cat, gorilla, meerkat, wolf and fox to your communication plans you can mitigate the impact of a crisis and safeguard your organisation's reputation.

We’ve all been there. Let’s make sure we respond even better next time. Unfortunately, as any wise old owl will tell you, there’s always a next time! Make that six animals.

For more on this topic, listen to our podcast episode 'Everything you should now know about crisis management' from August 2021.

Join in our discussion around risk management on Linkedin here.

Discover more about RiskSTOP.



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