Managing Director Callum Spreng shares some advice on how to handle crisis communication.
Intelligent, creative communications is more than a strapline for us – it is the way we try to work every day – particularly when the going gets tough for any of our clients.
When the pressure is on, you need your team to have experience, to be innovative yet thoughtful and to take decisions that are well-informed, measured and calm.
What I’ve learned, in more than two decades of handling sensitive and challenging issues with our clients, is that when you’re facing your most testing times it is your people who will see you through.
Businesses need to scenario plan and to stress test their crisis handling processes – including their communication plans. Teams need to build trust in each other so that they are confident, well-prepared and ready to spring into action – at any time.
Crises come in all forms from major product, service or financial challenges to misconduct, fire, flood or accidents. Now the world is facing a new scale of challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. None of us could predict the path it would take.
Communication around the pandemic is relentless. It ranges from the voices of experts desperately trying to get us all to change our behaviours to politicians very keen to convince us that they are still in control, to those who seem determined to reject guidance or fully accept the seriousness of the situation.
While we learn to adapt to this new pattern of life, those of us who have a particular interest in communication – especially at times of stress – are seeing the best and worst played out on a daily basis.
COVID-19 is changing our lives – in ways we don’t yet understand. Perhaps one lesson we can all learn is that in the middle of a crisis it’s communication that counts – with our families and friends and colleagues and customers; with our neighbours and with those who are risking their lives caring for others.
It has revived our willingness to listen to experts, it is forcing us all to make considered choices and it is bringing out our creativity – what better way to thank those who are risking their lives to care for others than by giving them a mass round of applause? That’s intelligent and creative communication in action.
Written by Spreng Thomson Managing Director, Callum Spreng.
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