Crisis communication

Published on August 30, 2022   31 min

A selection of talks on Strategy

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My name is Mr. Nitin Mantri and the Group CEO of Avian WE, which is a large communications consultancy based out of India. I'm also the president of international communications consultancy organizations, which is the parent body for all member associations for communications across the world. Today I'm going to speak to you about crisis communications, the process, the way it works, and what do you do when you are stuck with a crisis?
What is a crisis? The Dictionary defines crisis as a time of intense difficulty or danger. Indeed, a crisis and event of a nature or magnitude that changes or has the potential to change the way an organization, government, or an individual conducts its operations. It involves potential to actual loss of life, serious injury as a result of an organization, individual, or a government's actions and impacts ongoing operations and reputation, thus creating what we call an unstable and dangerous situation. We're currently facing the most unsettling and dangerous crises of our times. The COVID 19 pandemic, like all crisis, the coronavirus outbreak also hit us suddenly. The impact might be extending further than what we think. UN Chief Antonio Gutierrez has called the pandemic, the most challenging crisis since the Second World War, the unimaginable human and economic costs. A crisis can strike us at anytime, create uncertainty, and is seen as a threat to important goals. More so, in today's VUCA World.
Imagine if you were the person at BP headquarters in 2010 who got the first call, a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico had exploited and sunk, killing 11 workers and allowing oil to leak into the ocean at a rate of 43 barrels a minute, what would you do? Which colleagues would you convene and which of the innumerable problems would you address first? Would you put out a press statement or a tweet or send the spokesperson to the scene? Would your focus be on maintaining the situation or actually leading the company through it? Well, welcome to the VUCA World we all live in. VUCA is a managerial acronym that stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. According to researchers, volatility refers to the speed of change in industry market or the world in general. The more volatile the world is, the more and faster things change. Uncertainty refers to the extent to which we can confidently predict the future. The more uncertainty world, the harder it is to predict. Complexity refers to the number of factors that we need to take into account, the variety and the relationships between them. The more complex the world, the harder it is to analyze. Ambiguity refers to a lack of clarity about how to interpret something. The more ambiguous the world is, the harder it is to interpret. In this fast evolving, complex world, where social media gives people the power of anonymity and misinformation and fake news is more likely to be believed and shared than the truth of very thin line separates a best-case and a worst-case scenario. Any moment a crisis can present itself and disrupt supply chains, threaten business continuity and bring our hyper-connected global economy to a grinding halt.