When a crisis occurs, how can we communicate in today’s instant world?
When Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic crashed, he immediately announced it on Twitter, and apologized in a news briefing thus getting in front of the story. On the other hand, Brian Williams’ exaggerated chopper story began on Facebook when someone on the actual chopper said Williams wasn’t on board. (So much for those who think they can hide bad news.) In either case, the stories spread swiftly through different channels soon after.
Branson’s response followed the basic rules of crisis management:
- Get bad news out fast,
- Don’t lie,
- Acknowledge the problem,
- Provide ongoing information and
- Show sincere sympathy for those affected.