In a Crisis? Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand!

Published on 31st January 2023

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This insight post is a summary of the original blog post published by Insticom. View the original post: In a crisis? Do not bury your head in the sand.

One of the worst things you can do in a crisis? Turn a blind eye and cease communication. However, that is often the case for the Belgian meat industry. This type of response, or lack thereof for that matter, can make a crisis grow big and bring lasting damages to your reputation.

In the event of a crisis, the appropriate reaction to have is to quickly establish an adequate response and communicate it with the media, which you have selected and contacted expressly.

The Belgian media and public have recently been shocked by the Veviba slaughterhouse’s scandal: spoiled meat, origin labels tampering, non-organic meat sold as organic, etc. This is not the first time it happens in Belgium: 2013 was marked by the scandal of horse meat imported from Eastern Europe and sold as beef, 2017 by unsustainable images of slaughter practices of Veviba’s workers.

Here are some tips from our partners at Insticom:

First aid against rumours

What should you do if your business, rightly or wrongly attracts the media’s attention and become the subject of their criticism? Remember that, communication wise, a quick and adequate response is far more important than the cause of the crisis itself. Communicating with journalists is an essential part of any crisis management strategy. This approach allows you to keep in touch with the editors, to have an overview of what is happening in the media, and to maintain control over the information that reaches them.

Avoid the “head in the sand” communication

The first thing to avoid is unfortunately the thing companies tend to do when facing a crisis: burying its head in the sand, or how to hide under a blanket while waiting the media storm to pass.

Some people think, why communicate when you have nothing to explain? However, remaining silent during a crisis is counterproductive: it leaves space for the media storm to grow strong. By not answering, you become suspicious in the eyes of the public, quickly picturing the worst case scenario. These suspicions will raise passions and act as cliffhangers on journalists. They will smell the opportunity to publish crispy stories that will interest their audience.

Get three more tips from our partners at Insticom on how you should respond during a crisis in the full blog post: View the original, full-length blog post.You can also get insights from Worldocm Partners on Crisis Management.

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