Good crisis management is rarely about attracting a lot of attention and staying in the news. In fact, many fine examples of crisis management have gone nearly unnoticed except for the parties involved. This quote from a NY Times article explains:
“Companies that typically handle crises well, you never hear about them,” says James Donnelly, senior vice president for crisis management at the public relations colossus Ketchum, who — like many practitioners contacted for this article — required elaborate promises that he would not be portrayed as speaking about any particular company. “There’s not a lot of news when the company takes responsibility and moves on. The good crisis-management examples rarely end waving the flag of victory. They end with a whisper, and it’s over in a day or two.”
While “over in a day or two” may be a slight exaggeration in most cases, it is true that most successful crisis management campaigns do not end with a bang. The media has little interest in continuing to hammer an organization which is committed to honesty and making amends, so the issues of those involved are settled and public interest tapers off. Additionally, in some cases, we crisis managers are able to actually help a crisis-struck organization avoid news coverage altogether.
For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
[Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]