How to Protect Your Company's Reputation During a Crisis?

How to Protect Your Company's Reputation During a Crisis?

An effective communication channel is essential for any company at any given time, even more so when there is a crisis going on. Despite this being a very well-known fact, the current COVID-19 crisis has exposed the weaknesses of most international companies’ communication tools which were not readily prepared to face such a high-pressure situation while operating in China. 

At EASTANT, we are ready to support companies in strengthening the effectiveness of their communication by quickly identifying the necessary steps to achieve a successful crisis management strategy. In fact, in the past few weeks since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, we have provided our clients with a list of practical steps to quickly improve their corporate communication channels.

No matter what type of crisis your company is facing, the following 3 steps are essential to protect your company’s reputation with its employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders during a crisis.


Establish a crisis management team

Whether your company is an SME with just a few employees or a large multinational, it is necessary to establish a crisis management team with trusted people to decide and implement the strategy to follow on how to best handle the emergency. To achieve the best results, the team should include people from a series of departments such as:

○ Public relations

○ Legal

○ Security

○ Operations

○ Finance

○ Human resources

In fact, the more diversified a team is, the more coverage your company may have from a potential backlash. Each one of the people selected should be able to contribute with technical knowledge of the department they represent as well as some thinking-outside-the-box skills: the ability to bring together knowledge and creativity can give your company the best means to successfully handle any crisis.


Appoint a spokesperson

Once the crisis management team is established, it is time to appoint a spokesperson among them. This is a very sensitive step since this person will be the face of the company during the entire crisis. It is therefore necessary to pick the best candidate with:

○ The right skills for communicating internally and externally, including social media and events;

○ The right position in the organization to represent the company;

○ The right training which may include personal media training or coaching.

Even though some believe choosing the company’s CEO as spokesperson could be the best choice, this may not always be true. Most of the times, CEOs are executives with great technical knowledge but not necessarily with the best approach in dealing with social media tools. Moreover, in cases of unsuccessful crisis management strategies, having the CEO as the crisis spokesperson might result in even greater losses in terms of a company’s reputation during the post-crisis phase. For these reasons, it is recommended to appoint a spokesperson with a well-proven professional background in one of the areas listed above (see point 1) and with a natural talent to communicate with a wide variety of interlocutors, from the media to customers, to the general public.


Be involved in community initiatives

In a natural disaster type crisis, such as the current COVID-19 emergency, it is meaningful for companies to show their involvement in social responsibility initiatives within the community to help relieve crisis-related challenges. Such involvement might translate to:

○ Financial contributions

○ Donation of supplies

○ Participation in charity events

○ Supportive messages on your company’s communication channels (WeChat, website, e-mails, etc.)

Overall, teaming-up with local community groups and other businesses facing the same challenges is a great opportunity to strengthen your company’s positive impact during the crisis as well as to protect and enhance your company’s reputation. In this kind of situation, don’t be afraid to share your efforts on social media but, at the same time, make sure you are doing it in an ethical and responsible way to avoid unfortunate mistakes!


For more tips and solutions on how to improve a company’s corporate communication channel during a crisis, our team at EASTANT is ready to assist you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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