At the core of every message we create for crisis situations are our Three C’s of Credibility – Confidence, Competence, and Compassion. Without displaying these three items any crisis communication is bound to fall flat, and for the most part people get the first two C’s in their messaging. What’s left out most often, and what just so happens to be the most important C of all, is the element of Compassion.
The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart. — Rasheed Ogunlaru, life coach and author
When your audience hears about an ugly situation involving your brand they’re feeling a lot of things – outrage, anger, and fear are typically at the top of the list. They suddenly think you’re terrible, and your job as a communicator in crisis is to change their mind. As Mr. Ogunlaru points out, the way that starts is by connecting from the heart. In our decades of experience we have seen time and time again that demonstrating you understand how important audiences are feeling, what the impact of your crisis has been on them, and how important it is you resolve it quickly and to their satisfaction takes the edge off any ugly situation. More importantly, it allows you to move forward in the process of restoring a positive viewpoint regarding your brand.
Want to verify this yourself? There’s a simple little test: Next time you see a statement from an organization in crisis read it, then consider whether how you feel after. If you bought what the message was selling, if you felt the organization was doing the right thing, then I guarantee it contained elements of compassion. If your knee-jerk reaction was to think they didn’t “get it”, or that they really didn’t care, chances are the proper level of compassion wasn’t there to clear the way.