Multilingual Business Communication

March 24, 2009

Business disaster, crisis or just bad news?

Filed under: business communication, crisis communication, Marlène Bragard — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:23 am

According to the article Survive the Unthinkable Through Crisis Planning, a distinction is commonly made between a business disaster or a crisis.

A crisis and a disaster are both negative for the company, but differ greatly. A disaster results in great damage, difficulty, or death (a fire or a flood for example). A crisis occurs when a situation has reached a very difficult or dangerous point. It is not always easy for the company to know whether it’s dealing with a crisis. What is certain is that not succeeding in handling a disaster will often lead to a crisis. When the scandal gets to the heart of the company and hits its credibility, it is clearly facing a crisis. Stock market drop, employee misconduct, product liability claims, manufacturing or design mistakes, accidents, etc., are all well-known examples of a crisis. The difference with bad news is that in the latter case, your company’s mission or ability to continue working on the long term is not affected.

I wonder however why this difference is so relevant when you know that in both cases, having a crisis communication plan is the only key to survival. This plan needs to be developed to cover any emergency your company might be expected to meet. The aim in developing it is to encourage your people to think how that could be handled efficiently. The goal of this communication plan is to be sure your people will be able to use some tools to minimize the damage and have the crisis (or the disaster) under control.

Be prepared!


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