As an exercise in crisis communications, the media handling of the tragic capsizing of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, has been nothing short of disastrous.
Already we’ve seen an unseemly spat between the captain (incredibly being interviewed by the media even after being arrested) and the cruise line operator who has apparently sought to quickly apportion blame to the captain well before any investigation can officially decide what actually went wrong.
None of this does anything for the grief of those passengers who have suffered and ultimately, in the long term, the damage it can cause to the business itself could be irreparable.
Know the facts
For any company that has the misfortune to find itself at the centre of something like this, it’s all about knowing the facts. Put up your top executive to provide regular updates to the press, but do not allow them to speculate on the causes before they are actually known. All the company efforts should be towards helping the emergency services and the welfare of the passengers.
Clear and decisive communication is not the same things as making rapid and ill thought out accusations.