Why did the rules of crisis management have to be re-written?



We are in the golden age of crisis.  

So, if you have not already done so, you should download your free copy of the new ebook published by RockDove and In Case of Crisis, supported by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), titled, ‘The New Rules of Crisis Management – Issues & Crisis Planning and Response in the Digital Age’.

You can download your free copy here.

It’s fair question to ask if there was any real need for a fresh set of rules of crisis management?

Weren’t the old ones doing just fine?

Renowned communications and crisis expert, recipient of one of the industry’s highest accolades, the PRSA Lifetime Achievement Award, Ron Culp is the editor of the book and authored the Introductory chapter.

Ron lays out a very convincing case that a new set of rules for crisis management is way overdue.

The crucial change has been what Ron describes as the ‘dizzying speed’ of communication together with growing public skepticism of institutions of authority in all walks of life.

We wrote about the huge crisis in trust for the four pillars of public institutions – business, government, NGOs and Media – uncovered by the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, in a previous blog (https://www.rockdovesolutions.com/blog/need-another-reason-to-update-your-crisis-plan-heres-a-big-one).

That challenge is coupled with the mass access to, and transparency of, information brought about digital media.

In the book, Ron notes that Google handles 40,000 questions a second.

He adds:

“Consumers increasingly seek and find answers to their questions or concerns about brands, products and services provided by business, government and nonprofit institutions.

“Refusing to wait for traditional media reporting, consumers expect and generally receive answers in real time. And that information often colors their attitudes towards institutions providing those products and services.”

So what are the new rules?

The book has multiple chapters (with more to be published in the Spring!) digging into the answers but Ron lays out the basic tenets of digital age crisis management:

  • Effective crisis management requires a sense of urgency, not just when the crisis erupts but right now.
  • If you have not done so already, form your crisis response team immediately and empower them with the responsibility and tools to create and execute a world-class crisis communication plan.
  • Make sure that every member of the team reads and buys into the seven principles that guide the world’s top communications professionals as identified by the Arthur Page Society:
  • Tell the truth
  • Prove it with action
  • Listen to stakeholders
  • Manage for tomorrow
  • Conduct PR as if the whole enterprise depends upon it
  • An enterprise’s true character is expressed by its people
  • Remain calm, patient and good-humored

One of those tools that Ron urges communicators to adopt immediately is a digital crisis management platform to allow immediate access to crisis plans and activation of the crisis team when the worst happens.

A plan in a ring-bound binder does not cut it when ‘dizzying speed’ is the requirement!