Crises happen. And by definition, the very word, “blindsided,” means it’s impossible (or all but impossible) to see one coming before all chaos breaks loose.

Should that happen, the planning and preparation you do beforehand can make all the difference. Start by equipping yourself and your team with five forward-looking moves to make when blindsided by the unforeseeable.

1. Don’t act as though it’s business as usual

Continuing with your messaging as though nothing happened (or is happening) patronizes stakeholders and audiences. Worse, it can come across as though you’re ignoring the only issue on everyone’s minds. This approach won’t connect and will likely offend.

2. Address issues in ways that stay positive

People know the situation is dire. Every headline, social post, and news story says as much. Now more than ever, they want to connect with someone who can show them light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t go over the top with promises of moonlight and canoes, but keep your tone positive, supportive, and encouraging.

3. Make connections, not sales

Any audience or stakeholder can smell opportunism a mile away. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re noting every response and making future purchasing decisions based on it. Instead, keep messaging focused on what you’re doing to help the situation—from your customers to your team members to your community.

4. Slow the marcomm roll as needed

Don’t feel like you have to keep up with your normal marketing communications pace. It’s okay to step back at a time like this. Coming across as overly aggressive will more than likely turn consumers off for a long, long time.

5. Keep the social in your social media

These are great platforms for making immediate and personal connections with your audiences and stakeholders. Again, though, resist the urge to sell or overhype. For example, a food brand might offer up a tasty recipe instead of selling a product or ingredient.

This is by no means an exhaustive list—and every crisis truly is its own unique challenge dictating a custom response. If you’d like more guidance in developing your own crisis communication strategies—either during or ahead of a crisis—don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to help.

Published On: May 8th, 2024Categories: Crisis and Risk

C.O.nxt Insight.

Our team of subject matter experts focuses on food and agriculture—farm field to processing to entrée on a plate. We can help you build a new brand, protect an old one or target customers to foster sales. Let’s talk when the time is right to handle your next strategic marketing and communications challenge: Marcy Tessmann,


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