Imagine being the public affairs department for Amazon. Last night they went to sleep dreaming of yet another day of new market penetration and woke up $5billion poorer (At least for half a day). That’s because President Trump took to twitter while they slept and called out Amazon for “doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” leading to “many jobs being lost.” I’d say they skipped their morning Starbucks for an all hands on deck meeting.
The Trump Twitter attack on Amazon is just another example of the changing world of reputation management. Business owners continue to be blindsided by attacks on their brands every single day, yet most keep their heads in the sand hoping that it never happens to them. I am amazed every time I see a well-established business unprepared for a crisis. It has led me to be a crisis evangelist with a mission of helping businesses prepare for the unprepared.
My crisis evangelism has led me to speak in front of groups of business owners and executives in industries spanning across insurance, agriculture, human resources, small business associations, large corporate boards, non-profits… and the list goes on. How many of the businesses do the hard work of creating a crisis communications plan even after they hear my sermon? Likely the same amount of people that commit to planning in the first place. About 20 percent.
In September, I’ve been invited to talk about crisis communications planning to a national audience of business owners in Alexandria, Virginia. My message won’t change. The story is the same no matter where I go, across every industry. And this is it… 50% of businesses close up shop within 2 years of experiencing a crisis. Will you be one of those businesses? Or are you one of the 20 percent who take the time to create a crisis communications plan that takes into consideration things likely to happen, as well as the freak occurrences that we can’t plan for – such as Trump’s Twitter tantrums while we sleep? My hope for you is the latter.
Holly Carter is a crisis manager certified through the Institute of Crisis Management. She is a subject matter expert and keynote speaker on a variety of topics related to crisis management, public relations, and communications. She is also the founder and CEO of Carter & Co. Communications, a full service public affairs firm specializing in crisis communications, agricultural communications, land use management and public policy.