Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crisis Communications Training (Singapore)

Crisis communications training is analogous to paying for insurance coverage - it is something you have, but hope you will never use.

In today's age of social media, it is no longer a question of whether an organization will face a crisis, but a matter of when.  This is because the proliferation of social media has changed the way individuals send and receive information. Low-cost internet and smart phones have created the phenomenon of citizen journalists where individuals can now as effectively shape public opinion as any large budget news organizations. Unfortunately, many businesses do not fully understand the impact of social media and its potential impact on their business in a crisis.
 
Research by Dr Rory Knight and Dr Deborah Pretty (Templeton College, University of Oxford) showed that failure to protect your brand can result in losses of up to 15% of enterprise value, while success can add up to 5%.
 
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Who should be trained? Our recommendation is for anyone responsible for the brand and reputation of the organization. As training would also enable the crisis managers to speak a "common language", senior management should also undergo crisis communications training.
 
What should they be trained in? While crisis communication trainers will vary, we believe that the training must include: (a) understanding the impact of social media on communications and how to use social media as part of a crisis management plan; (b) a framework with which PR personnel can evaluate incidents and derive the communications plan; and (c) basic media training to enable selected personnel to front a media interview.
 
When should they be trained? While it will be ideal for your company's representative to undergo annual refresher training, this is a good to have and not a must have. At the very least, your company's representative should attend a crisis communications workshop. As a crisis can happen at anytime, the best time is now.
 
How much will it cost? Qualified and experienced trainers are naturally not cheap. They are however, not expensive too. A typical basic 1-Day in-house training would run in the region of SGD10,000. Given that research has shown that a poorly managed crisis can cause up to 15% drop in brand value, the SGD10,000 fee is a small sum to pay.
 
Are foreign trainers better? As every market is different, having a local trainer who is familiar with the stakeholders (including how Government agencies operate) will definitely be an advantage. A Singapore trainer who has dealt with local crisis, will be able to share valuable nuances in messaging that can make a big difference in effectiveness.
 
Government Grants? Today, the Singapore government currently provides for crisis communications training and workshops under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme (PIC). Claimed under training, companies can get up to 40% cash back.
 
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Crisis communications training is no longer a good to have. Every organization should prepare for the inevitable crisis.

 

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