Responding to Crisis: Assessing Situational Crisis Communication of the Costa Concordia Crisis


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Responding to Crisis: Assessing Situational Crisis Communication of the Costa Concordia Crisis

  1. 1. Responding to Crisis: Assessing Situational Crisis Communication of the Costa Concordia Crisis A case study of the Costa Concordia Crisis January 2012 Tine Grarup, 286495 July 28th 2012 Corporate Communication in Crisis and Change MARSTER of ARTS in CORPRATE COMMUNICATION
  2. 2. Agenda The Findings Crisis, Predictability & Control Crisis Preparation Questions and Comments Framing Corporate Spokesperson Crisis: Ready or not?
  3. 3. The Findings • Situational Crisis Communication Theory ▫ Matching crisis response to the crisis situation • Recommendations and normative guidelines were not followed ▫ A mismatch of contradicting response choices • Yet... Corporate reputation survives • Questioning the effect of standardized theoretical norms ▫ What could the effect of crisis preparation have had on the Costa Concordia crisis
  4. 4. Crises, predictability & control Unbelievable …but… Predictable Plan for what you can expect, and do your best to prepare for what you can’t Careful preparation in advance can help ensure corporate survival when crisis strikes, especially in the new media age where news often skip the traditional information route.
  5. 5. Crisis preparation First, when possible • Have structures and procedures in place to facilitate a fast response • Acknowledge that in today’s media world you cannot get in front of the story Most credible, always • Have a robust presence in both traditional and social media • Be constant in your communications, also during a crisis Forces planning, preparation and practice to enable success Surprise Panic Preparation can improve crisis outcome and brand advocates Step 1: Diagnose vulnerabilities Step 2: Crisis management team Step 4: Spokesperson Step 6: Communication protocol Step 7: Crisis management plan Step 3: Internal corporate policy Step 5: Monitoring social media Crisis Management Plan
  6. 6. • All crisis communications are done in a negative environment • Story-building construct frames for sense-making • Tell the story you want people to know • The frames are created and altered through interaction • Reframing might be necessary Framing You decide yourself what you want people to make sense of…
  7. 7. Corporate Spokesperson Myth 1: Only the CEO can speak for the company • Often chosen for skills that do not include communication, influencing or persuasive conversation Business executives Gallup poll of honesty and ethics of professions (2011)
  8. 8. Corporate Spokesperson The corporate spokesperson should be… • Somebody who handles themselves well under pressure • Somebody who is available to the press • Somebody who has media training or is able to conduct themselves in front of the media and on camera • Somebody who comes across as being very sincere, honest and real • Somebody who knows the situation
  9. 9. Myth 2: There must be only one spokesperson • Valuable to have different spokespersons as long as their roles are well defined and clearly understood by the media • Speak with one voice does not necessary mean one person but rather consistency Crisis preparation will ensure consistency and most likely also limit mistakes made Corporate Spokesperson “We will use all of his statements against him” Mike Eidson, personal-injury lawyer
  10. 10. No matter if you like it or not, crises will happen, and being prepared, learning from your mistakes will help ensure the crisis outcome Learning from Lean and Kaizen principles Continuous improvement
  11. 11. Thank you for your attention
  12. 12. Refences • Anthonissen, Peter F. Crisis Communication – practical PR strategies for reputation management and company survival. Kogan Page: London, 2008. • Bernstein, Jonathan. Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management. McGraw-Hill. 2011 • Coombs, W. Timothy. Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, 2007. • Grarup, Tine. Responding to Crisis: Assessing Situational Crisis Communication of the Costa Concordia Crisis. Corp. Comm. In Crisis & Change. 2012 • Hanks, Douglas. “Costa Concordia wreck leaves hostile PR wake for Carnival Cruise Lines”. The Miami Herald. Jan 24, 2012. • Lewis, Laurie K. Organizational Change: Creating Change Through Strategic Communication. Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, 2011 • Ruff, Peter & Khalid, Azid. Managing Communications in Crisis. Gower. 2003 • Pictures are from Google