An interesting recent article from PRDaily addressed the question of who a company or organization’s spokesperson should be in a crisis. Careful considerations should certainly be given when deciding this important point. Here is Red Banyan Group’s take on each of most popular arguments:
1. The CEO should always be the spokesman
A CEO addressing a crisis himself/herself nonverbally communicates to the public that the company is taking the situation seriously. However, as the head of the company, this individual may be too busy managing the actual elements of the crisis itself to have time to be the public information source. But that should not mean that the media and public are kept waiting for information…
2. The PR person should always be the spokesman
A PR representative is often a good choice as a spokesman who can get information out quickly if they are familiar with the details of the situation and experienced fielding media inquiries. But again, the presence of an executive as a spokesperson often helps emphasize the company’s dedication to the issue.
3. A variety of people should serve as spokespeople
While a number of different people may be called to speak on the organization’s behalf depending on the situation, Red Banyan Group cautions against a company having too many “faces.” Keeping a consistent spokesperson from one statement to the next gives that individual more rapport and ensures that press is familiar with that person.
It’s also important that the company have an established press policy, with which all employees are familiar. Staff should be advised about how to handle incoming calls, emails or in-person inquiries from both media and personal contacts. Additional damage can be added to an existing crisis if unauthorized team members provide information to media outlets, or are not confident about how to respond when approached.
While arguments can be made for and against each of these stances, the correct answer simply varies from one situation to another. Through its specialized crisis PR counsel, Red Banyan Group helps companies identify their most appropriate spokesperson and effectively navigate the numerous other challenges associated with a crisis to help minimize or repair any damage to the brand.