Avoiding reputational harm
So, what are the implications for other businesses wishing to avoid reputational harm as a result of a crisis:
Do all you can to avoid a crisis in the first place – prevention is better than cure so conduct thorough crisis management planning and instill a crisis resistant culture
Communicate quickly; fix the problem – respond to emergent issues with a balance of communication and action. Say the right thing and do the right thing
Anticipate increased attention following a crisis – once you receive criticism for your crisis handling, stakeholders (and especially the media) will be watching closely for any sign of a repeat performance.
Conduct a crisis de-brief and act on the learnings – preventing future crises requires organisations to take a cold, hard look at what went wrong. It’s only by doing this that you can address the root causes of the crisis and rectify the flaws in your crisis response. Fail to do this and you risk another damaging episode.
As Talk Talk’s experience shows, getting out of the media spotlight is much harder than getting into it in the first place. That’s why re-doubling your focus on crisis management in the aftermath of a major incident is the only sensible course of action.