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Spokesman thrown to the wolves

Speaking is gold

In times of crisis, is it possible to talk to the press in a way that your customers’ trust can be maintained? A couple of years ago, some children became ill after having a drink at their campsite. The guilty party? The manufacturer. The media, of course, jumped on the story and focused on an ill child who was in the hospital. How did the company talk to the press, as it most likely had never experienced anything of this nature and size before?

Cameraman 

Thrown to the wolves, portrayed as the ogre, the business manager had a difficult task lying ahead. Nevertheless, he was able to convince the press. The manager clearly showed his empathy. His communication was very transparent. Moreover, he discussed their cooperation with the authorities. We saw a sincere, concerned and decisive man who was able to win the hearts of the viewers in the living room. Eventually, this resulted in a positive press coverage and a continued customer support. However, not everyone can bring this to a favourable conclusion in a natural manner. There will always be gifted spokesmen, but in many cases the key to succes is preparation.

3 tips!

microphone

Communicate!

When all eyes are on you, there is no point in hiding. Ideally, you communicate proactively with the media. Sometimes you have to communicate reactively, as this case showed us. This is why you should always be available and willing to give interviews. As a company, you should have control over the communication flows. You want to be the go-to source of information. Otherwise, journalists will start looking for other sources (employees, neighbours, former employees, trade unions, etc).

empathy

Empathy makes or breaks 

You are human and are not giving a typical corporate interview. Show some sympathy with the victims (consumers, neighbours, customers, employees, etc) and be sincere. If the audience experiences you as “human”, they will see that to err is human. Furthermore, if the communication is empathic, they will be less hard on your company. Media training can help with this.

high-five

Invest in good media relations

Do not solely communicate in times of crisis, but also in quiet times. Spend some time on PR and share newsworthy stories and facts. This way, you will get to know the journalists and will be more resilient in times of crisis. Your company name not only circulates on the Internet in connection with crises, but positive stories can once again gain the upper hand.

Food Security helps its members by:

Tip 1 mediatraining

- Organising a mediatraining course. Starting from 3 persons, we can organise an in-house media training course. Less than 3 persons to train? No worries, we also organise an open media training course. A Dutch course on the 19th of November in Aalst, and a French one on the 21st of November in Vilvoorde. Members pay €400, non-members €600. There are still some places left, act fast if you want to be a part of this.

2 LP juni

- Holding an intervention during a simulation exercise with a real journalist. With the motto ‘practice makes perfect’ in mind, we put the spokesman or his backup on the spot during a simulation exercise.

More information!

 Tip 3 copywriter

- Including a crisis communication copywriter in our network. The copywriter helps by writing out the core message, the press release or the questions and answers.

More information!

 Tip 4 lijst  - Providing a list that covers all media channels (written press – radio – television). It has just been updated during the summer and can be found on our website at the download center for members.