Many of you know that one of their brand new 737 aircraft, used by Lion Air, crashed killing everybody on board. If that event weren’t horrific enough, Boeing has exacerbated the problem with their poor crisis PR response. Let’s recap.
One of their initial press releases was distributed on election day. This gave people the appearance of trying to bury the news; hide it so that it doesn’t have as much of a focus for obvious reasons. When you do that, you raise questions as to your sincerity and your transparency.
Then Boeing further exacerbated their problem by canceling a subsequent press conference involving other airlines at the 11th hour because maybe they believe that they weren’t ready to answer the questions.
The instance does raise about some really good teaching points for any good organization of any size in dealing with a crisis. The first thing is to recognize that if you’re in the middle of this, nothing else is a higher priority. I don’t care what positive news stories are on the horizon. If you have such things scheduled, be prepared to cancel them, or at the very least, modify them in order to use them for your crisis PR communications.
The second thing is to be sure to be as transparent, as open as possible. Be sure that your crisis activities are scheduled to give you the most transparent, open, honest, and forthright appearance to the audiences with whom you’re trying to connect. Remember, that includes your employees, your customers, your partners, your investors, and, oh, by the way, the media. If you do it wrong, you’re only gonna create more questions than answers