A crisis is anything unexpected, unanticipated, or uncontrollable event or occurrence which will cause, either directly or indirectly, an explosive and harmful situation impacting an individual, a community, or the world as a whole. Crises are typically negative changes in society, specifically the economic, social, technological, and political aspects, particularly when they happen suddenly, with very little warning, and for the most part, without any adequate preparation. It is also possible for a crisis to be a good thing, bringing about beneficial change, such as the example of the recent environmental awareness campaigns, the global warming phenomenon, which have led to the reduction in the carbon emission of the atmosphere, and other related environmental issues.
However, no matter how the situation may develop, the potential negative consequences of a crisis must be managed. Crisis management is a process of identifying, evaluating, minimizing, preventing, and healing crisis. Crisis management is not simply the act of "coping" with a crisis, but the active engagement of an organization in crisis prevention. The ultimate goal of crisis management is to prevent future disasters. The key components of effective crisis management are:
o Effective forecasting. As the famous crisis statement by Henry Kissinger states, "In crises, do not fail to plan." The ability to forecast crisis and the ability to assess the impact of a crisis and the likely effects of various potential solutions are essential for organizations in crisis prevention. Organizations must be able to foresee and manage the impact of disasters on their business, governments and societies.
o Effectively managing public information. Communication in today's era is a powerful medium that can instantly convey and shape public opinion and sentiment. Crisis management organizations must manage the spread of information and the reputation of specific media. Media outlets should be credible sources of information, edited and fact-checked, and should be managed by reputable professionals. It is important to note that while social media may be one of the fastest growing sources of information, credible, accurate and complete information is a must in crisis management.
o Effective social media strategy. Crisis is a time for strong alliances and public relations. Since the media will be the most influential player in defining and responding to the event, it is advisable to engage in communication with the target audience and to use the appropriate media to share information. When it comes to public relations, organizations should invest in comprehensive and robust public relations campaigns, which include PR and branding, crisis branding and crisis communications.
o Effective communication during a health crisis. Since a health crisis will inevitably affect people in all areas of life, it is wise to have a well-coordinated response from every aspect of an organization. Crisis communication during a health crisis requires organizations to work closely with the relevant stakeholders, provide accurate and up-to-date information, make adequate contingency plans, and ensure that people affected by the crisis have a clear understanding of the gravity of their situation and are able to access the help they need. All of these are just some of the important steps that organizations can take in order to manage a crisis successfully.