Managing a crisis is all about good communication. Dealing with media is a big part of that. News about a calamity spreads like wildfire across different (social) media channels. It is not an unnecessary luxury to prepare for this as an organization. The recently launched Mediasim gives Expat Preventive clients the opportunity to practice for themselves during a simulation with protected media channels.
As of now, several companies and NGOs have practiced with Mediasim. This online communication tool provides simulation participants with the opportunity to share press releases on news blogs and Twitter in a protected environment. They will be able to immediately view the effect of their communication, through incoming responses on their broadcasts. The learning efficiency is high.
Practicing with social media in a protected environment
Crisis communication is an art in itself. How do you control coverage after a disaster? What do you do with social media comments? What media approach do you use to contribute to the objectives of the crisis management team? These are questions that communication experts of organizations and companies have to face when dealing with a crisis.
“Not communicating is not an option”, say Mascha Blokker and Barbara Bosma, communication consultants of Expat Preventive who designed the new communication tool.
Bosma: “During the crisis management training, we saw that the communication officers and press officers did not have sufficient opportunity to practice in real life. That is why we wanted to create an online environment that helps to really experience the media pressure emerging after a crisis, and which gives them the opportunity to see the effects of a communication action by the crisis team. The new online test environment offers them that opportunity.”
Control is key
“It is important for a crisis management team to take control from the very start. Also in communication. When journalists are reporting the crisis and can only rely on information coming from other sources, you lose your credibility as an organization,” Mascha Blokker adds.
What goes wrong when external communication is not done properly? “Then, agitation arises. Family members will contact the media and thereby thwart the strategy of the crisis management team. Or, rumors are not dispelled and will take on a life of their own”, Mascha Blokker relates. “The risk is that third parties will be seen as spokespersons. Confidence in the organization will be lost this way. Changing course will be very hard when that happens”.
Are you prepared?
Training for crisis communication is therefore essential for control of the situation. During Expat Preventive’s crisis simulation, the managers involved will get a wake-up call and see how communication may influence the turn of a crisis. Tweets, blogs, journalists with cameras rolling at the reception… Is your organization prepared for that?