Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Agility and Flexibility as core crisis communications practices

My good friend Gerald Baron has an excellent post about adapting to new technology or perishing. A must read for any crisis communicator and executive. To follow Gerald's military analogy, you need a quiver full of all sorts of arrows. As our audiences are diffused, so must be our ways to reach them. Key then, is the job of prioritizing levels of engagement. I say levels because you still need to engage with everyone ... but perhaps not to the same level.

Another reason why flexibility is essential is that sources of info have multiplied. Studies show that the first reaction of people in an incident or crisis will be to share with each other. This has an impact on news as Twitter becomes the world's key news wire for breaking stories.

More and more people get their news online and share through social networks immediately following the onset of an incident or crisis. We got a stark reminder of that in Oslo and Utoya last week.

Media is adapting to this reality ... the outlets that don't disappear, like the late, late shows, slowly turn to test signal and snow ... So they adapt with a stronger web presence and a growing reliance on social networks. A real effective way to reach these outlets is through social media as they maximize their news gathering operations by relying on citizens and organizations themselves as news sources.

The future appears brighter for citizen-based journalism than it does for legacy media, certainly for TV news. In Canada, there are more people surfing online each week than eyeballs glued to a TV set. The future for broadcasters looks dim in the age of "narrowcast" ...

What does the future hold? In my humble opinion, we'll soon face a landscape with few "real" news organizations and a multitude of micro-bloggers, twitter-like feeds and the such. Welcome to instant news worldwide!

ARE YOU READY for what this means? ... the need to communicate IMMEDIATELY and OFTEN?

Lots of rewriting should be going on pretty soon across the land ...

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