Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump's Big Win : 10 lessons for the crisis communicator

A lot has already been said in a political sense about the new President-elect's electoral victory. A lot of humble pie and crow on the menu ... accompanied by many a face-palm.

But I thought there were many lessons that could be learned by those dealing with emergencies .. particularly from the communications point of view: 

  1. Trust data .... but also trust your gut ... in a crisis, use the experience/expertise that has brought you this far ... do not rely entirely on data ... engage with people on the ground to help refine your understanding of a situation
  2. social media might be a very good barometer during a crisis ... monitor social platforms to gauge the mood of your audiences and how your actions are perceived
  3. don't use the legacy media as an intermediary ... Trump is a masterful media manipulator ... yet, they were largely against him and he bypassed the media effectively ... the most of social networks
  4. in the CCO formula ... which stands Compassion, Competence and Optimism ... focus on optimism part ... offer up the idea of change ... especially if the crisis was brought about by some action you may be responsible for ... although overplaying that card can lead to authoritarianism 
  5. Brand your response ... a catchphrase ... a slogan that will convey meaning and a sense of your objective ... most importantly. one that resonates well with big segments of your audiences ... in this case, he tapped into hate, anger and bigotry ... unpleasant but effective nonetheless 
  6. Don't be afraid to be yourself ... speak your mind ... be genuine ... now, perhaps not to the extent to which Donald Trump showed his true self ... but audiences crave personality not a robot or drone during a crisis ...
  7. Keep pounding away with your key messages ... "Crooked Hillary" .... was .... effective ... brought his opponent's key weakness (lack of transparency and honesty) to the fore EVERY TIME he said her name, Effortless ... 
  8. Be convincing ... have an absolute belief in what you're doing ... don't go as far as Trump down the narcissistic path ... but display strength and, when necessary, some humility 
  9. Motivate your staff ... show up in your EOC, crisis cell or boardroom ... Trump rallies were an omen of what was to come ... sustaining the enthusiasm of your staff is key in dealing with any crisis and creating a sense of purpose and unity
    Long lines for a Trump rally
  10. Question yourself all the time ... do any of the normal rule matter in an era of such rapid social and technological changes?  Trump ignored most of the rules associated with traditional campaigns. Have a plan sure ... but be ready to adapt it to new circumstances ... a new environment 
I'm not sure how much America will change ... but i know that only one thing is certain in emergency/crisis management :  change is a constant and will only come at an accelerated pace in the near future. Are you ready ?