COVID has destabilised economies, governments, public finances and healthcare systems. Weakened systems are more crisis-prone, so when it comes to crisis communications, complacency is not an option in 2021.
Here are the 3 things every communicator should consider right now:
1) False sense of security in organisations
Understandably, many companies are still preoccupied with the crisis. However, we also detect an attitude of “We managed COVID-19 well, so we are OK“ in some organisations.
This is a false conclusion: Yes, COVID is mother of all crises, but since it affects everyone, it is not hard to explain.
It is our role as communicators to keep crisis preparedness top of mind. No one needs another crisis on top of the existing one – especially not a homegrown one where blame cannot shifted to external factors. Take Boeing for example. The company is battling a quality crisis and an external crisis at the same time, which is putting the aerospace giant in peril.
We are also witnessing an increase in crises linked to ethics and compliance due to higher societal expectations and a more complex, interconnected stakeholder landscape. On the whole, we expect the trend of recent years to continue: More crises, and a faster spread.
2) Companies are forced to manage crises remotely
The traditional model of on-site crisis response does not work anymore, and it won’t work in the future as organisations move to hybrid model of working. This means that companies have to find new ways to ensure they can activate crisis teams within minutes to not miss the Golden Hour. Or should we say Golden Minutes – as companies companies often don’t even get 60 minutes to respond.
How do you know if your organisation is prepared? It’s simple: Simulate a crisis under hybrid conditions. Hybrid is the future normal.
3) The rise of cybercrime
The volume of financially motivated attacks is staggering, and intrusions are no longer one-time events. Moreover, widespread remote work and the accelerated pace of digitalisation in the wake of COVID have far-reaching consequences for cybersecurity. As communicators, one of our worst nightmares is when credit card details are stolen from our companies not us.
This is an arms race. Companies are well advised to simulate cyberattacks and to ensure their defences are state-of the-art and constantly upgraded.
As always, if we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail. The good news is that organisations that are prepared can turn any crisis into an opportunity.