Early August 2018, Stijn Pieters gave an interview in the radio show De Wereld Vandaag on the Flemish public radio station Radio 1. Crisis communication about a famous event being talked about around the globe, and how to react when you suddenly find yourself in the head of the storm. Those were the topics.
In May 2018 we had the first large scale run of our brand new crisis game for teams. As part of an innovative teambuilding day, 60 team members from the ‘Webcomm’ units of the European Parliament joined Tim Van Achte, Mike Lauder and me (Robbert Meulemeester) in Brussels to save the world in an apocalyptic and chaotic scenario. Not only did we have lots of fun, as expected we also recognised many actual crisis management challenges about awareness, coordination, communication and team dynamics. In this blog post I’d like to share a few (already legendary) quotes of the day.
In April we spent more than a week at the Argenta headquarters in Antwerp to provide acute crisis management and crisis communications support. Belgians fifth largest bank was affected by a large IT crisis after a system migration, causing their online applications to be unavailable for multiple days in a row. They called our team for assistance and we jumped right in.
For the first 2018 issue of the Be Prepared magazine on emergency management in Belgium, PM wrote an article on the purpose of analysing perceptions and sentiments in a crisis. In the article, our strategic crisis advisor Robbert Meulemeester explains how crisis management teams can benefit from such analysis to improve both the quality and accuracy of the decision making process.
Forming a clear and collective strategy within the communication team is often neglected or even forgotten when it comes to crisis communication. Facing high pressure by customers and public opinion, organisations ‘under attack’ tend to jump to what to say (messages) and where to say it (channels) as soon as possible. Even in stressful situations, it is however essential to be aware of the ‘bigger picture’. Ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve by (not) communicating?
The main outlines of a crisis communication strategy are mostly considered as a policy and governance level topic, and therefore discussed within the crisis management team. The challenge of crisis communication is that the “crisis management state of mind” that members of such teams find themselves in during a crisis, disables them to form a clear view on what’s happening outside of the co-ordination room they are in. You will need someone (or a dedicated team, or an external firm) to fill you in with the outside world’s perception in order to make the decisions and define the actions that matter the most.
Robbert argues in this Dutch publication that sentiment analysis will get management teams to better appreciate the internal and external impact of a crisis situation, therefore positively influencing their crisis policies. He further discusses a few simple steps to include perception analysis within the crisis management decision making process.
View article (Dutch)
Type: PDF, 70Kb
Source: Be Prepared, issue 1/2018
This article is republished on our blog with permission of the editor Die Keure Publishing.
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About the author
Robbert Meulemeester is a crisis adviser and strategist at PM • Risk Crisis Change. At PM he developed the Zombie Game. Robbert is addicted to American football, riding roller coasters and running.
If you’d like to learn more about Robbert, click here.
We are the kind of organisation that firmly believes in spreading relevant ideas and thoughts by different means. For instance, we like to make sure we can present our findings and best practices at various international conferences each year. In the same spirit, we also like to take the time to publish in depth papers. In 2018, PM team members Stijn & Tim published a peer reviewed article in the Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning.
Tijdens de eerste editie van de leergang omgevingsanalyse is het idee ontstaan om alle do’s en don’ts rondom het vakgebied omgevingsanalyse te verzamelen in een speciale bundel: Communiceren begint met luisteren. Een verzameling van verhalen en ervaringen op het gebied van omgevingsanalyse. Met deze bundel willen we een eerste stap maken binnen het vakgebied, een ontwikkeling die hopelijk uiteindelijk eindigt in een boek dat volledig in het teken staat van omgevingsanalyse.