Two sets of keys for crisis communications

Bill SalvinFellow blogger and crisis manager, Bill Salvin, recently posted on three keys for crisis communications in the digital age.  The keys he shares are honesty, speed and images.

Here are excerpts from each key:

Honesty:  Let everyone on your team know that your integrity is the most valuable commodity you have in a crisis and it must not be compromised.

Speed:  The dynamics of a crisis can change based on external events. Once identified, empower your team to make the tactical decisions required to communicate events as they unfold.

Images:  People believe what they see over what they hear. You can have great talking points and a great spokesperson destroyed because the words are out of sync with the images coming from the scene.

As his post suggests, I (and other Ketchum colleagues) also believe in three keys:  credibility, focus and imagination.  We typically talk of these keys as the necessary mindset characteristics to manage a crisis effectively.

There’s nice symmetry in comparing the two sets of three keys.  Honesty and credibility are essentially the same.  To respond with speed, you need a capability (plan, team, system, approach) with high focus.   And providing images is one of the subsets of our points about applying imagination to your communications, in order to creatively cut through the clutter of a crisis and get your message across.

Check the comments section of Bill’s post – I also like his take on “truth” vs. “honesty.”

2 thoughts on “Two sets of keys for crisis communications”

  1. Great post, James and thanks for the shout out. There is great symmetry to all of these traits. You used the word clutter in your post and that's an important point. During a crisis, there is so much clutter that can be distracting without the right focus. If you stay focused, you can keep your credibility. And, your team had better have imagination or the organization will get dragged down by the agenda of others who will use your crisis for their own ends. Thanks again.

    1. Thank YOU for the inspiration and for your great thoughts. We'll have to get you interviewed in this space sometime soon…!

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