Crisis Communications: Simple is powerful

Crises are complicated. But crisis communications should be simple.

Life is complicated. Business is complicated. Crises are complicated.

Crisis communications, however, should be simple. Why? Because they are most effective when simple and straightforward: this allows people to understand the message. If people understand your message, they will be able to REALLY FEEL what you are communicating. If they feel what you are communicating, then you have reached them effectively.

Simplicity is essential for two key reasons:

People understand simple ideas. If they understand, they can appreciate, relate it to their own experience, have patience and even exercise forgiveness. (Think business disasters and crises, corporate mistakes, even corporate malfeasance…) With that said, it is very challenging to write messaging about complex matters or crisis in simple terms. It requires a settled-on strategy about the most important business objectives, and a discipline to stay focused on meeting those objectives.

Simple rises above the complex. Details, facts, nuance… that’s for the lawyers, the number crunchers, the compliance team. Yes, the public does need to understand the facts about what gave rise to a critical issue or crisis, who was hurt, how it will affect them, and what is being done to prevent future problems. But even more important are messages like:

“We are sorry.”

“We will fix this.”

“Your safety is most important.”

“Our highest priority is you.”

“We are making things right.”

“This was wrong.”

“We can do better.”

Naturally, your communications will need additional detail and context. But your key messages should be to the point. This what stakeholders will remember. They will remember the high-level sentiment backed by meaningful actions that support your words.

If you are in a crisis or are dealing with a complex, critical issue requiring thoughtful communications strategy, contact BETTISON. We can help.