During the last 7 years, the companies operating in Greece, Greek or foreign ones, have to deal with a continuous crisis. The difficult fiscal situation in combination with a social unrest has created a challenging environment for the private sector. Several companies faced a series of communication challenges which evolved into crises. The most notorious example is about one of the biggest FMCG companies in Greece that a few years ago decided to close down one of its production lines in the country. The labour union politicized their struggle against the company demanding from the management of the company to reconsider its decision. The company’s management kept a hard stance against the labour union which took advantage of the political status quo.
This is just one of the many examples of crisis communications cases for businesses in Greece during the last challenging years. The Greek crisis has made us a bit wiser about handling crisis communications and the lessons learnt might apply to other environments in international level. So, what have we learnt so far?
- Any crisis communications plan must be flexible in order to adjust it in any case especially in an unstable external environment.
- The worst case scenario is the base of a crisis communications plan. We may pray for the best but we need to be prepared for the worst. Unfortunately several Greek companies just crossed their fingers in order to deal with situations that eventually damaged their reputation.
- In order to reduce costs, several Greek companies decided to weaken their communications teams. They may have achieved savings but they left their companies without the necessary and experiences human resources to deal with a crisis.
- A crisis communications plan might include the opportunity to strengthen the reputation of a company.
- A company has to be sincere, honest and apologetic if necessary. It’s a common mistake that companies fear to admit wrongdoing because they consider it weakness.
- Greek companies followed the trend of social media in order to enhance their reputation but they discovered, sometimes the hard way, that communications are a two-way street and they might have to deal with a wave of negative comments and they were not ready for that.
These are some indicative lessons learnt about crisis communications in Greece during the last years. It would be great to have your views and thoughts about them