Learning about crisis communication from a woman who deals with crises on a daily basis was interesting, especially considering the fact that the disasters she deals with are not normally considered crises.
While most companies would only respond to a natural disaster if it affected them or an oil spill if they caused it, it was a new concept to try to understand that those situations are the business of the Red Cross. The real crisis is when something affects the organization’s reputation.
The Red Cross has had to navigate its way through dealing with everything from a rogue tweet to seemingly bad press about the organization teaching first aid to the Taliban. It has been able to find a way to side-step each one of these land mines by doing exactly what it should: being honest and forthcoming and reiterating what its organization stands for.
There are so many people who criticize the PR profession, but the American Red Cross is able to stand above criticism as an ethical organization that employs PR in a most ethical way.
Everything that goes on in the organization is grounded in its fundamental purpose: to be the universal symbol of neutrality and humanity.
These are the types of organizations and companies that are most successful. They are the ones that rely on their message to make all aspects of their company work in unison. When everyone in a corporation is on the same page in terms of the mission and goals and strategies, it will always make for a more successful PR campaign. Too many companies end up having their messages lost when they implement PR strategies that don’t align with it.
After the discussion in class, I have even more respect for the American Red Cross now that I know more about the ways it handles crisis communications and even everyday PR.