Crisis ‘ante portas’ means… don’t sit and wait (unprepared) as Siemens, Whole Foods, Novartis, Uber, VW, Chipotle, Fifa, Starbucks, Facebook, Halifax, Google. You can do better!
Crisis is always ‘ante portas’, always be ready
Imagine a factory on fire. Well-respected company. Suddenly, all stakeholders will turn their attention to the company. Local communities, media, authorities and policymakers. Meetings, authorities and media questions on environmental protection, toxic waste, health and safety, employees, operations shut-down. Far away from the company’s value, history and heritage, and how good they are…
If you google “crisis, cases” you’ll see thousands of examples of quotes, hard-facts, studies, crisis response cases …and tension. But most probably if you ask a CEO to prepare his units for a crisis, you will get a response like “it can’t happen to us; we have more pressing matters to attend“. Even multinationals expect to get support from the HQ, only when some issue occurs.
But what is the real cost of ‘investing’ few hours and resources to be crisis-ready? Is it corporate arrogance, or pure incompetence to prepare proactively for business continuity and perception risks?
Crisis? Google it…
The Siemens case was estimated at a direct cost of $2,2 billion. The VW emissions’ scandal retracted back some million cars. The food giants in the US pay constantly fines when accused of their product ingredients, or for their employee policies. Even a local rotisserie in my hometown is against customers who happened to visit its kitchen… Yes, I know “it can’t happen to us…“.
The Uber lost its London license. Google was accused of its autonomous car-crash (to a school bus) and then for tax evasion in many EU countries. Consumer rights against company practices skyrocket in the Ombudsman’s list in almost every European country. I know, “it can’t happen to us…“.
Crisis issue: paedophilia, data, and channels
YouTube has taken the heat off the Facebook-Analytica data crisis, thanks to revelations it is still running adverts on video channels promoting paedophilia, white nationalists and North Korean propaganda. Overnight, same day, an investigation by CNNclaimed that advertising for 300 companies including retailers, tech giants, newspapers and government agencies had been running on extremist video channels.
Crisis for Wi-Fi on-plane
Virgin America was the first to offer onboard Wi-Fi in 2008. No one could predict that the day would come when an aviation emergency would be broadcasted live, as Facebook live, real-time by a passenger. On April 17, 2018, a passenger on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 broadcastedwhat he thought was his final goodbyes after an explosive decompression on the aircraft.
“Something is wrong with our plane… we are going down!” shouted passenger Marty Martinez through his oxygen mask in a live stream seen by just a handful of followers at the time, but has since been shared/viewed more than 540,000 times within the next 24 hours. Tragically, a woman was killed, making this the first fatal event on a U.S. airline.
Search and you’ll get amazed. The many airline crisis cases have sparked a global initiative by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to redefine and codify “best practices” in aviation crisis communications for the digital age.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it – Warren Buffet
CEO singing in the middle of a merger…for his money making!
Sainsbury’s is in the middle of a merger with Asda. 12 billion value. Important evolution. Thousands of stores, consumers, partners, importers working with the brands. Fame and reputation should be intact. Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, has been filmed singing and humming “We’re in the Money” while waiting for an ITV News interview. ITV New released the clip and it became viral. We can discuss for long if it was a right practice from the media house, but the thing isn’t funny for the CEO.
The media titles were “Astonishing moment Sainsbury’s CEO sings ‘We’re in the money’ in front of TV cameras as he awaits interview to discuss his firm’s merger with Asda“. Mr. Coupe apologized for offending anyone and said he was trying to compose himself and that the song was an unfortunate choice.If you have a 12 billion deal at stake, before government and regulators’ approval, and media reporting on the brands and the story …how irresponsible, immature and unprepared executive can you be, to turn the attention away from the deal, and the two brands?
End-note, you can’t pick your crisis
The first thing to know is that you need to expect the unexpected. “The rule Number 1,” according to Jamie Moldafsky, CMO of Wells Fargo, “is that you don’t get to pick your crisis. You have to be ready.”
Is your company ready to tackle business continuity and perception risks?