Savvy association executives recognize the potential danger and plan ahead.
Can’t happen to you?
Think of the pork industry when H1N1 flu was erroneously labeled as “swine flu.”
Here are three recent examples from the corporate world.At Christmas, it was UPS that failed to deliver packages before Christmas and suffered because of poor communications from the snafu. See 7 Things Brown Can Show Your Association.
- A company statement said, "UPS understands the importance of your holiday shipments. UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination." UPS spokeswoman Natalie Goodwin said on Christmas Eve that "a small percentage of shipments are delayed and will not be delivered today."
Here’s some commentary that flowed:
- 1-800-Yikes. What’s worse than forgetting to send your significant other flowers on Valentine’s Day? Forgetting to send flowers to more than 400 significant others. Just ask 1-800-Flowers. The company failed to send flowers, candies and other gifts to more than 400 people, including wives, girlfriends and worst of all… moms.
- Meanwhile the company’s Facebook page is under attack with no reinforcements in sight. Which reminds me – how confident are you in your crisis program? If you’re a little nervous reading this, we should talk…
- At least the company managed to apologize and own their mistake… oh, never mind. I guess they didn’t. Their website has no mention of it.
- • Under Armour responded quickly, were transparent and did not blame the athletes. And, followed up by announcing a 14-year sponsorship agreement for speedskating.
3 Simple Guidelines for Crisis Communications
- Have a written plan of what to do. Know who responds and who gets notified.
- Be careful about the tone of your communications. Don’t blame. Think about the crisis from the recipient’s point of view. Look back at the UPS quotes. Rather than “solving” problems, it enraged the “small percentage” of customers who were inconvenienced.
- Include social media. Monitor what is being said. Update your website and social media pages quickly, accurately and transparently.