Rough seas lead to valuable lessons
Learning vicariously through others who have endured crises is one of the very best (and least painful) ways you can better your own crisis management ability.
Early this year we wrote, repeatedly, on Carnival Cruise Lines’ failures to do proper crisis management, but they weren’t the only cruise line to run into trouble. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas also encountered a crisis when fire broke out on board, but thanks to a proper response the organization was spared the wave of negative publicity that surrounded Carnival’s incidents.
PRNews’ Lucia Davis spoke with Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications at Royal Caribbean, who shared a list of five crisis management tactics that helped her steer through troubled waters:
1. Have a strategic, coordinated and rehearsed social media plan. As soon as the company learned about the fire, it established a three-pronged goal to manage the crisis: Become the main source of information on the fire; provide a steady stream of information and own the conversation and the visuals.
2. Communicate within minutes and stay engaged. Speak first, speak clearly and speak often.
3. Communicate with a unified voice. Make sure everyone in your company is equally equipped to become an ambassador.
4. Control the visual. In addition to pictures of the fire damage, Royal Caribbean also tweeted out pictures of its president and CEO, Adam Goldstein, onboard the ship, assessing the damage and meeting with guests. Major media outlets used those photos in their stories.
5. Put a company face front and center. People speak louder than logos.
We would suggest one change to this list – namely that your social media plan should most definitely be established and rehearsed BEFORE a crisis strikes. Yes, it’s possible to put together something that works on the fly, but why purposely put yourself behind when you could easily set plans in place beforehand?
Learning from the good, and the bad, examples of crisis management we, and our colleagues, share WILL save you time and money if you take the lessons and put them to work within your own organization. Of course, you could wait and learn the hard way if you prefer…
The BCM Blogging Team