Virtually daily, we all consume news on our cell phones, televisions, on the way to work, on apps, via streaming media, at events and interviews, and the list goes on.
In a world of instantaneous breaking news in all forms of electronic and printed media, senior executives are feeling the pressure more than ever to clearly and factually communicate about their companies in a time-sensitive manner.
While traditional and mobile platforms deliver all the news unfiltered, sometimes resulting in the need to be reactive vs. proactive, one thing is for sure—regardless of how and when someone receives messages, they will be scrutinized from every possible angle to get the “real story.” For that reason, paying close attention to, and preparing for, the way in which good or bad news is communicated will undoubtedly reflect on a company’s financial health, as well as the way in which the company is perceived by multiple stakeholders.
Determining the most effective way to reach an audience can be accomplished by developing an integrated, multi-media communications plan. Doing so will help ensure that all bases are covered and maximum numbers of stakeholders are reached.
In some instances, a Tweet may be an effective way to highlight a compelling message. On the other hand, a 15-second streaming broadcast message may focus on multiple issues. Or maybe, a well-crafted news release directed to investors will do the trick.
Equally important is the need for the executives on the communications teams to work together, especially in a crisis situation. Investor Relations and public relations execs should be the “First Responders” to get the word out in a consistent manner while containing any possible rumors/fake news. Where appropriate, advertising that has been planned and paid for may have to be cancelled or shifted forward until the crisis has been averted. We’ve seen the need for this strategy in the food, pharma and airline industries time and again. On a longer-term basis, advertising is something you can directly control and use to re-build the messaging that is most important to your company’s future.
Whether it’s a quarterly earnings report, product launch, a crisis communication strategy or anything in between, with today’s myriad communications channels, an integrated communications plan is the strategic weapon of choice. It’s the best way to determine how to survive breaking news.
Mark Bilfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark is a special advisor to PondelWilkinson on integrated communications strategies, including advertising.