How offering historical context helps in a crisis

Your crisis communications should be able to lean on your past record. Here are some ways to tell that story to help bolster your reputation and build trust.

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During this unprecedented time, people are eager for assurance.

Words matter, but context is often more powerful for building belief and confidence. Context proves an organization’s resilience, its ability to navigate rough seas and manage through a crisis.

Whether your organization is 10, 100 or 250 years old, it too has likely confronted situations that rendered the future uncertain. Unprecedented moments may call for unprecedented actions, so suggesting pat answers runs the risk of undermining credibility and trust.

We counsel clients to complement empathetic, transparent and informative communications with tangible experiences and context to help audiences understand what the organization is made of—its character and values. This approach is central to any organization’s ability to navigate an unprecedented challenge like the one we all face today.

We must not minimize the risks and challenges that are emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, having studied countless historical responses to crises, it’s helpful to look to moments of truth from the past and discern what truly enabled your organization to navigate them.

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