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Every business is likely to encounter reputational issues in the social media world with different degrees of seriousness, but the key to efficiently handle a communication crisis is being prepared and knowing that information is power.

To get a better understanding on this topic we should first analyze what is crisis management, so let’s jump to it: In simple words, crisis or reputation management is the procedure of striving to shape public perception of a person or organization by inducing online information.

A crisis is interpreted here as a significant threat to operations that can have negative outcomes for the organization if not addressed properly.

Crisis management is a method formulated to curb or lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.

Crisis management can be divided into three phases:

1. Pre-crisis

This phase involves attempting to diminish perceived threats that could lead to a crisis. This is part of an organization’s risk management program. Preparation involves:

Understanding your key stakeholders.
Creating a crisis management plan and updating it at least annually, this means designing protocols for possible scenarios.
Selecting and training a crisis management team
Performing practices to test the crisis management plan and the team at least yearly.
Drafting crisis management statements and templates for a quick response to a possible scenario.

Communication is crucial during a crisis, that’s why preparing for different crisis situations that might arise within your business area is key.

Bad internal or external communication will likely incur more damage to the business and the time required to bring a full resolution to the problem will be extended.

2. Crisis response

The crisis response is what management does and says after the issue occurs. Public Relations have a crucial role in this phase. It helps formulate messages that are sent to various people and entities. Let’s take a look at the 3 key points you should focus on when facing a crisis: 

• Quickness
A quick response shows the organization is in control of the situation and allows you to disclose your side of the story. The ideal move is to offer a response within the first hour after the crisis occurs. This is because people will be looking for information and if you don’t display it, someone else will. Thanks to social media and the internet, a crisis in any market will become news at some point. There are people devoted to being the key source of information regarding the circumstance, and they usually have inexact information or may attempt to use the crisis as an opportunity to sabotage the organization. Be sharp and take control of the situation.

• Accuracy
Accuracy is important anytime an organization communicates with the public. But when it comes to a crisis, it’s a must. In the attempt of addressing the situation rapidly, there can be a risk of inaccurate information being shared. If there is a mistake, it must be rectified. The crisis team has the mission to share information with every other person involved with the organization, so everybody is on the same page. The spokesperson must be prepared to address the incident with the same information and key points that are being shared by the rest of the organization’s means of communication.

• Consistency
It’s important to prevail invariably across the different communication platforms, as confusion will only make the situation worse. This is a task the crisis team must discuss among all members in the organization to help legitimize the message.

Consistency must be present not only in the content of the message being shared, but it also has to be there when it comes to the position the company is taking publicly and the sympathetic tone being used to communicate.

3. post crisis

In this phase, the business should be going back to normality, but the organization must consider techniques to prepare competently for the next crisis based on the previous experience. The teams must evaluate the actions taken and adjust or improve the crisis protocols. It is important to keep track of the recuperation process, corrective actions, and investigations of the crisis.

At Trifecta, we consider your business reputation as an important resource for the organization’s well being. If you are interested in assessment for better crisis prevention or management, don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with us so we can help you push your business to its full potential in a safe and controlled process.

We’re Trifecta Content Studio, a 360º communications agency focused on helping e-commerce companies and small-to-medium businesses build effective and engaging communication strategies that range from branding and influencer marketing to crisis prevention, to Amazon A+ Content and storefront design.