A recent PR Daily post on choosing the correct person to serve as a spokesperson during a crisis compared the topic to developing a successful sports team. The author of the article argued that when your organization is faced with a crisis, your best bet is to have both star players and strong people on the bench.
As stated in the PR Daily post, an organization usually has three options when they choose a spokesperson to represent them during a crisis.
- The CEO – CEOs often want to be the only voice when trouble strikes, but this is usually not the best option. In these situations, CEOs should be managing the crisis and business operations. If a CEO misspeaks early in the crisis, he or she loses credibility and undermines the reputation of the organization. For these and other reasons, it may be a better idea to bring your CEO in as a spokesperson several hours into the crisis.
- The PR Person – A public relations representative can serve as a great spokesperson, particularly during the early hours of a crisis when the media and the public are looking for information. The PR person should be a member of the crisis management team and should lead the crisis communications team. He or she should be prepared to make an initial statement where the crisis is acknowledged, basic facts are provided, and a promise to deliver more information is made.
- A Variety of People – Though PR representatives are a solid choice when it comes to picking a spokesperson, they don’t have to be the only voice during a crisis. The PR person can speak during the first hour of the crisis, followed by a subject matter expert, and finally the CEO. Media training can help you determine who your key representatives should be.
No matter who your organization chooses as a spokesperson, you should always make sure that he or she has taken part in intense media training. Sending an untrained person out to represent your organization in a crisis is only asking for more trouble.
Who do you think would make the best spokesperson for your company during a crisis?