A media scandal can ruin reputations, lose loyal consumers and ultimately, destroy a business.  Bad press can happen to anyone at any time.

It’s not just the big businesses, like airlines and supermarkets that need to have strategic crisis communications plans in place.

With the digital age enabling the general public to create content, and one tweet/picture/video can go viral, every business should have a crisis management plan ready to go.

When a crisis breaks, here’s how you can minimize damage, with tips from regional communications specialist, Maha Abouelenin on episode three of Savvy Talks podcast.


Step one: have a plan in place

In situations where a crisis emerges, rapid response is essential.

‘Companies that didn’t do it well, didn’t have their game together,’ explains Maha.  Creating a plan of anything that could go wrong, ahead of time will alleviate some of the pressure when something does, in fact, go wrong.

List out what risks could go wrong, and how you’d best play them out.


Step two: get the facts, and find out what happened

Maha says: ‘Find out all the key people involved, what happened, why it happened.’

Learn and be sure you know all the facts surrounding the crisis, so you can answer questions, and be clear on how is best to proceed.


Apologies and empathy is key in a crisis

If you made a mistake, apologize straight away. If you were in the wrong, apologize immediately. Admit you messed up.

Following the apology, showing you care is essential. Maha says: ‘Show that you care, you care that you messed up and you care that you hurt your customers.


Step 3: be transparent

‘Don’t hide anything, come clean even if it hurts you,’ Maha explains. She says just rip off the band-aid; admit if there was an accident or an error. It’s best to put it all out there and be transparent.

Though to mitigate disaster, bringing in an expert can help your cause. Have an expert assess the damage or danger, and explain to consumers what the situation is. It will add to your credibility and help you understand what’s truly going on.


And finally, build a recovery plan

Analyze what may need to change, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Maha explains that the recovery element is even more important than the handling of the crisis. She says: ‘There are a lot of positive repercussions that can come from a crisis because you can improve your operations, motivate your employees and really show your team when you get stuck in a crisis, this is how you step out of it.’

Tune in to episode 3 of Savvy Talks to learn more – available on iTunes, Google Podcasts and wherever you get your podcasts from.