Sue Cato and Derryn Hinch discussed crisis management at today’s CRA Conference in Melbourne.
Some of their advice from the session was:
Twitter has changed all the old rules of crisis management. You must now “got out there and tell what you can… face the crisis and handle it. The old days of lock-down are gone. There is nowhere to hide.”
If a company chooses to apologise the apology “must be whole hearted and absolute. No IF. Make it sincere, make it real and make it stick. If you dish it out you’ve gotta take it.”
Hinch believes a public crisis should be broadcast, for example the Qantas bomb threat back in the 80’s.
He also warned radio and media against hypocracy “if the issue is one of your own.”
Cato says it’s about what a reasonable person would think. Crises are things that fall outside of what people will accept and/or if it causes pain to others. “Use Common sense to face it and broadcast about it,” she said.
As an aside she said, “if the media didn’t beat up the media 30% of what we talk about would be gone.”
Commenting on the nurse prank hoax call Hinch said SCA “defended what they did and it just went a bit too far,” and the approach was naive. “A moment of sanity was required, but it was too far and too fast,” he said.
In a case like that, “a quick fix, an apology and holding statement is necessary to show you are engaging. Always be incredibly focused on the human cost. Be careful of what else can be triggered in the event of the clean up – there are many moving parts,” said Cato.
“If someone is not doing something obvious to clean it up, people think there must be a reason… In the middle of a fire storm, go to the end game, how bad could it be. Prepare for the absolute worst and start to fix from there, don’t hope it won’t happen. Tell the truth because people are sick of lies.”