Prioritizing empathy alongside urgency during a crisis

The Weather Company CMO Randi Stipes explains where and how empathy can surface in your crisis strategy.

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In a time when younger audiences expect empathetic responses to global crises from the organizations where they work and spend their money, the classic image of crisis communications as a buttoned-up and clandestine exercise in issues management no longer works. During the opening session at Ragan’s Future of Communications Conference last fall, The Weather Company CMO Randi Stipes explained where and how empathy can surface in your crisis strategy.

Here’s what we learned.

Responding, not reacting when a crisis strikes is mission critical.

The Weather Company’s mission is threefold: to instill confidence, to drive decisions and to prepare the world. Stipes approaches each by understanding that, “as communicators, we play an essential role in formulating that mission and driving alignment.”

Gut-checking their mission at The Weather Company meant prioritizing partners like Red Cross and GoFundMe rather than upselling people who are in harm’s way.

“Guided by the mission that you all create we drive strategy, we unite the organization,” said Stipes. “I like to think that as communications professionals, we act as both the compass and the conscience of our organizations. That mission is what enables and guides us toward creating a shared understanding across all functions.”

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