How to communicate trust through the chaos of crisis

Tips on when to respond and how to build a crisis plan based on principles.

Ragan Insider Premium Content

If there’s one through-line for effective crisis communications across multiple stakeholder sets, it’s the ability to maintain trust and protect reputation when things get hairy. This holds true whether the crisis is internal or external and whether you’re addressing employees, customers, suppliers, investors or everyone at once.

During Ragan’s Speechwriting and Public Affairs Conference last year, IBM Director of Issues and Policy Communications Adam Pratt, Edelman Head of Global Digital Crisis Dave Fleet, and Bully Pulpit Interactive Partner Bradley Akuburio shared their perspective of what it takes for communicators to move from a position of panic to one of power when crisis hits.

Here’s what we learned.

When to respond

Most crisis communications experts advise on transparency and authenticity above all else, and Pratt explained why these are more than buzzwords.

“For us, authenticity comes through not just what we are going to say or the position that we’re going to take authentic to who we are and the expectations of our stakeholders,” said Pratt. Deciding whether to comment on an issue depends on how an issue or potential response aligns with IBM’s values guidepost.

Deciding what position to take, meanwhile, comes down to how it can be backed up in a way that makes a difference.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.