Proactive crisis management for organizations facing misinformation
In today’s environment, it is a matter of “when” not “if” you or your company will be faced with false claims and misrepresentation of the facts. Generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) continues to permeate everyone’s day-to-day, creating opportunities for advancement while simultaneously contributing to the pervasive spread of distorted narratives that make it increasingly challenging to decipher what is real (and can be verified) and what is fabricated.
In such a rapidly-evolving environment, it is important for organizations to be even more preemptive in identifying, mitigating, and responding to false claims. The proactive management of these issues can prevent a small issue from escalating to a crisis with long-term reputational impact.
Whether your company seeks to prepare against the proliferation of misinformation or is facing false claims amidst the increasingly unstable macroeconomic and social environment, these are some proven tactics that can support you in protecting your business and mitigating reputational damage to aid in returning your organization to normal:
- Equip your communications and/or social teams with the right tools to escalate concerns to leadership and to track mentions of your company, as well as your competitors and industry, so you can be aware of and prepare for potential impacts of an industry-wide issue.
- Maintain a publicly available resource hub featuring questions and answers on company-owned channels such as a corporate website, a blog, and/or social media channels. Doing so can save your team time and energy when managing both customer and media inquiries, as well as enable your communications team to rapidly counter any claims with readily-available, discoverable and consistent answers.
- Verify leadership social accounts and ensure the company’s executives have verifiable, owned and updated online profiles, which are often critical as threats of online impersonation are on the rise.
- Identify and train spokespeople to represent the company and confidently speak to the media and key stakeholders amidst critical moments.
- Recognize third-party advocates that can help you strengthen your narrative. While it is important that a company tells its own story, third-party voices such as industry experts, employees, partners or other key stakeholders can lend credibility to an organization and help it amplify its narrative.
Implementing the above tactics, as well as developing a communications plan that considers the most prominent risks your company faces, will better prepare you and your organization to navigate and counter the spread of inaccurate information so that your stakeholders know where the truth lies.
This article was originally published in O’Dwyer’s PR Magazine, The Crisis Issue, January 2024. You can read the full article here.