How and Why Is It Important for Businesses to Engage with the Media During a Crisis?

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* How and why is it important for businesses to engage with the media during a crisis? What strategies are successful in external communications for business during such times? Compare & contrast two news stories which centre on a crisis for different businesses giving detailed analysis of each communications strategy.

This Essay will begin by reviewing crisis definitions and message strategies. Next it will explore translation strategies used by organisations involved in a crisis to communicate with stakeholders. The essay will then consider Ford–Firestone’s tire failure crisis of 2000 as an example of poor crisis management, and contrast toy maker Mattel’s recall crisis of 2007 as an example of successful crisis management. It will first lie out the rhetorical context of each case before embarking on a detailed analysis equating the effectiveness of both firms’ external communications, and in the case of Ford-Firestone, how these might have been alternatively approached in order to avoid detrimental reputational damage.

* Fink (1986, from King, 2000) defines an organisational crisis as ‘a situation that can potentially escalate in intensity, fall under close government or media scrutiny, jeopardize the current public image of the organisation or interfere with normal business operations.’ Pearson and Mitroff support this in their ‘five dimensions of a crisis’, explaining that the situation will be ‘highly visible, require immediate attention, have a surprise element, and a need for action’ (Pearson and Mitroff, 1993 from King, 2000). They also outline the five stages of a crisis; signal detection, preparation and prevention, containment and damage control, business recovery, and learning. External communications are of pivotal importance during the preparation and prevention, containment and damage control, and learning stages (set out by…...

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