Crisis Management and Communication in Organizations Essay
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In the modern changing world a crisis can happen anywhere. It cannot be expected. And Effective Communication is really important when managing a crisis as one mistake done by the Organization can affect the whole Organization itself, its stakeholders and the Industry. It even could threaten public safety, the financial position of the organization and the reputation. It can lead to disruption of operation creating loss of market (W.T Coombs, 2007). That’s where communication comes in handy as lack of communication between the Society and the Organization can lead to distress, this is the where verbal and non verbal communication is really important.
Referring to the case of Dominos pizza (New York Times ,2009), when two employs of the Dominos franchise in Conover, N.C, played a video prank with the food and putting the video on YouTube, the Management waited hoping that it will blow away and that is what went wrong. There was no news from them in the first 24 hrs.
Instead of answering the queries of the consumers and the media they waited in the hope that it will cool down which never happened (New York Times, 2009). In a situation like this it’s really important to face the society and tell them what’s going on, should communicate with them verbally and non verbally or else the society will keep the image of the organization the way they want, good or bad.
When in crisis after appointing a spokes person, it’s really important for the spokesperson to be calm and pleasant when confronting the media avoiding nervous habits ensuring the limit of disfluencies such as “umhs” or “uhs”, while avoiding fidgeting and pacing (W.T Coombs,2007). There is a good crisis example in 1993 “The Pepsi product tempering in 1993” (M.Hubbard,2006).They proved that effective communication in the Organization and effective crisis public relations campaign combining various strategies can rebound the hoax(M.Hubbard,2006).
When dealing with media regarding a business crisis, it’s really important for the organization to stick to what they say if the statements given by the organization keeps on changing, dealing with the public relations will be a total disaster. They have to be very clear about what they say avoiding the statements which doesn’t make sense keeping it simple with limited information for the time being.
2. The Crisis 2.1. Communication Tactics It was clear in the case of Dominos pizza (New York Times, 2009) that management wasn’t aware of the situation unless a blogger alerted the Domino’s vice president of communications Tim McIntyre. There was no reaction from the management first as they didn’t want to alert more people to the story. And according to the Adage, a trade publication, Dominos response was late as in a situation like this the firm should be responsive to the crisis in the first 24 hrs and domino’s took 48 hrs to be fully responsive (R.Flandez, 2009). Just for the sake that more people might be alerted there was no issue of formal press release to mainstream press meanwhile the internal team was busy to form a strategy.
After the management came to know of the videos they started to search for the two employs of dominos that were responsible for the videos with the help of bloggers and YouTube, and little that they realized that 70% of the conversation was going on Twitter and YouTube. As the Crisis began and most of the conversations were going on within the Social Networks from dominos they opened a twitter account to be responsive to the consumers and the society, even the President of the domino’s pizza Patrick Doyle appeared on a YouTube video and explained the present situation of Domino’s and that the store where the video was shot were closed and sanitized, for the efforts of Domino’s Richard Levick, President of the Levick Communications gives an “F” for the first 24 hrs and an “A” for the rest (R.Flandez,2009). By using the social Networks domino’s managed to handle the situation well.
2.2. Goods and Bads During the crisis, It could be clearly seen that even though Dominos was in a bad situation they didn’t jump on defending just because they might attract more people and they didn’t hold anything like a press conference, which wasn’t appropriate during that situation, but they did upload a video on YouTube and opened a twitter account to defend dominos and to tell people what was going on which was a good thing they did. The YouTube and twitter response was good but what about the older generation?, the people who are not on any of these but still a fan of dominos, they will only hear what people say considering there was no press conference or statement on TV which is a direct source of information to the Public. From dominos if they had got on TV they could have told the public as whole that they are working on the crisis and what they are doing about it.
Even in the YouTube video the president of Dominos pizza Patrick Doyle stated that the store where the video shot was taken by the pranksters was closed and sanitized (R.Flandez,2009),they could have invited the Media ( TV stations and reporters) to witness the process. Even though the two employs of Dominos were fired after the video they could have managed to get a live statement of what actually happened and why they did it. It could have given extra support to prove the innocence of the whole organization. In the case of Pepsi-Cola in 1993(M.Hubbard,2006) when a man in Tacoma, Washington claimed that he had found a syringe in a can of diet Pepsi, the story started spreading like wild fire in the country more claims started arising.
Pepsi-Cola announced that they will pursue legal action against anyone making false claims and started work on proving the innocence of Pepsi-Cola, and the claims did turn out to be a hoax. The president of Pepsi Craig Weatherup made appearances on TV and gave statements on radio. They even brought in cameras to the Pepsi bottling plant to show the bottling process and proved that there is no way that a foreign object could be inserted in to bottle or can before its sealed(M.Hubbard,2006), which is a very good example of communication in crisis. Dominos did make mistakes but they still managed the situation at a time there was no Social media plat forms or strategy in the Organization (M.Agnes, 2012)
3. Recommendations After the incident took place on 13th April 2009.a study conducted by HCD Research found 65% of respondents who were daily customers hesitates to do so after watching the offending video(R.Flandez,2009). Recommendations are many for this kind of situations. Like they could have prepared a communication list of reporters investors and customers, business partners and advisors and give to an official statement instead of waiting without any actions like in the dominos case and also admitting that there is a problem helps to move on with the others steps of the process to overcome the crisis(M.Nowlan, 2006).Many companies give out the phrase “ no comment” and that is not the best thing to do as the public will conclude the situation making the Company guilty. And also respond to the situation as quickly as possible (M.Nowlan, 2006).
4.Conclusion As Effective communication plays a major role in the business organization it’s really important for the organizations to be ready for what might come for them. As one single mistake made by them at a time of crisis can lead to a loss which would be difficult to get over. As in the case of Dominos they were nearly out of business, there was couple of things which could have been done from the company side which were neglected in communicating the public. It’s important to take action internally but considering the company to be a service provider, issues will rise in a speed that no human can expect it that way. Let this case be a lesson to all the service providers to improve their image for the future.