Tips on crisis management

14 tips on crisis management

Dallas Lawrence gives CUs a crash course on responding to a crisis.

April 3, 2017

Crisis management expert Dallas Lawrence shared best practices for protecting your organization’s reputation during times of crisis at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in San Antonio.

Lawrence, chief communications officer for Rubicon Project, delivered a few handfuls of insights to credit union leaders with real-life stories and a bit of humor, too. His crisis management recommendations included:

  • Know and engage key influencers early and often.
  • Avoid an information vacuum.
  • Be where the crisis is. For example, if the crisis happens via a YouTube video, don’t respond with a press release.
  • Own your brand in social before someone else does. Make sure you have the rights to digital accounts to avoid parody attacks.
  • Reach journalists on social media. Journalists are social and face a time-crunch. Make their lives easier.
  • Respond with people, not logos. People don't want to talk to a logo in a crisis. They want a person. Humanize the brand in a crisis. They want to know you care.
  • Know what you’re talking about. There’s urgency to respond, but don't rush. Once you ruin your credibility, it’s hard to get back. And you need it in a crisis.
  • When you blow it, own up to it quickly.
  • Don't forget humor as a defense, as long as the gravity of the situation isn’t too intense. Everyone gets a second act. People are willing to forgive.
  • Integrate paid and earned media. Do everything you can to deliver the message.
  • Make some lemonade. Use negative comments to improve your product. Don't just ignore the input.
  • In the event of a data breach, don't become a villain. Be the good guys to work with law enforcement and consumers. Don't be a bad guy trying overly protect the organization.
  • Don't forget your secret weapon.. Your employees. They can be your best advocate online if you engage and arm them in time.
  • When all else fails, use brutal honesty. Rip off the Band-aid.

Read more coverage of the conference from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNACraig and @cumagazine, and by using the #MBDCouncil hashtag.