If your organization has ever faced a crisis, you are familiar with the first feeling of panic. Your body goes numb, a cold dread washes over you and you start to freak out a little bit (okay, a lot). What should you do? Who should you contact first? What does this mean for your company?
Taking a deep breath is the first thing you should do in a crisis. Use that moment to have a moment of calm, and to steel yourself to get ready to work.
You may have been through crisis training or a preparedness course, but even if you haven’t, we have a fun way for you to remember your priorities in a crisis: The Walt Disney Company. Disney? Yes, and specifically, Disney princesses. Over the years, Disney has presented us with a host of strong princesses that we can take a cue from on how to keep cool in a crisis.
Don’t Freeze, Take Action
In the movie Frozen, Princess Anna joins forces with Kristoff to break Queen Elsa’s spell. Before rushing into action, she took the time to develop a plan even though time was of essence and immediate action needed to be taken. Princess Anna didn’t freeze; she thought through her options, developed a plan, gathered resources and then set that plan in motion.
Consider Your Priorities and Develop a Plan
Much the same way, your organization should have the proper protocols in place should disaster strike. This is where a crisis plan is a must. The middle of a crisis is not the time to write or develop a crisis plan. It must be done in a time of non-crisis. When a crisis strikes, take that deep breath, grab your crisis manual and start developing your plan of action. The crisis manual will help you gather the right team, focus your priorities and begin work on addressing the crisis.
Prepare for Battle, With Help From Friends
When Mulan decides to take her father’s place in the war for China, she knows she has an uphill battle. She must pretend to be a man and learn to fight. But, Mulan is able to activate a team around her who helps to propel her forward, supporting her, and ultimately, helping her to defeat the enemy.
Internal Communication is a Must
Your internal team and communication will make the difference in a crisis. Like Mulan, they will be preparing for a battle. And, like Mulan, your team will help your company to address the crisis, enabling the proper messaging to be communicated, supporting you in your action plan, and ultimately, together you will weather the crisis storm and come out stronger on the other side. Keep your team close and in constant communication during the crisis. Everyone should have specific roles and responsibilities.
Don’t Get Tangled in the Crisis
Tangled, a modern representation of Rapunzel, presents a princess with a strong moral compass and a compassionate heart. This Rapunzel does what is right even at the cost of her own happiness. She steps up to the challenges, speaks from her heart and learns that doing the right thing actually works in one’s favor.
External communication is the difference between telling your story or having someone else tell it for you. When there is a crisis, don’t get tangled up in the “no comment” loop. Your organization needs to be transparent and empathetic and address the crisis head-on. Consumers need to know they can trust your brand rather than see you skirt over the truth, tell inconsistent stories or hide altogether. Be sure to equip your crisis spokesperson with the facts and help them anticipate answers to potential questions. But, the most important thing to communicate is your heart. Be open and honest. You will realize that your dedicated consumers will be there to see you through the crisis.
According to Ragan.com, the first 48 hours are the most critical time when your organization faces a crisis. When you have a plan, can execute that plan and remain visible to consumers despite adversity, your organization is more likely to survive a crisis. Just remember the magic of Disney.