IS SILENCE GOLDEN? The added value of emergency media response plans

Posted on 31 Jul 2019, by Gina Panayiotou

In the words of WARREN BUFFET:

“IT TAKES 20 YEARS TO BUILD A REPUTATION AND FIVE MINUTES TO RUIN IT.  IF YOU THINK ABOUT THAT, YOU’LL DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.”

Making the news is not always good

  • Chile oil spill: 40,000 liters of diesel spilled into sea off Patagonia
  • Explosion, fire on tanker off Cyprus, 2 injured
  • Giant tanker explosion rocks outlying island off Hong Kong
  • Grande America: Third Oil Slick Sighted off France
  • Gulf of Oman tankers attacked
  • Iran tanker seizure: UK warship HMS Duncan arrives in Gulf
  • Ship carrying $1 billion worth of cocaine in Philadelphia could have another 30 tons on board

Is silence golden?

If you are a firm believer of silence being the golden rule of dealing with the media, think again. Maybe it is time to do things differently.

Step number 1: Silence is NOT an option. The media has a magical power of transforming silence in various forms: from implied consent and guilt in respect to the incident, to the worst-case scenario anybody can imagine. And when you are dealing with reported loss of human lives, environmental damage, alleged unethical conduct and similar scenarios, you need to take control and defend your reputation.

Step number 2: You cannot foresee the crisis but you CAN have a great action plan in place. Just as appointing an ERT without a procedure manual would fail to work effectively, likewise the lack of media handling tools in place, will lead to chaos when a crisis hits, from your frontline reception to top management. It is crucial to have a process in place where any action/inaction and statement is well thought out and carefully articulated.

There is no better evidence of genuine leadership adequacy and ability, than when confronted with a crisis. How well prepared you are, the way you deal with the situation, what you say and how efficiently you try to restore the after effects of the crisis, can become either your greatest failure or your most valuable asset. The choice is yours!

Making reference to a non-shipping incident; the New Zealand Christchurch attacks that took place a few months ago, can assist in putting the particular context into perspective. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, rushed to the scene, was next to her people, immediately set out an action plan to help victims’ and their families and made a bold statement, in refusing to say the suspected attackers’ name, requesting of the public to speak names of mosque attack victims instead. Arden refused to enter a blame game, instead she made it her priority to communicate and re-instate trust in her people. Even though she was dealing with a national crisis, the way in which she communicated with her people, was key in sustaining and building greater trust.

A succesfull business means a happy client

It is a well-known fact that the shipping industry is an industry built strongly around relationships and trust. Any threat to such relationship and trust, is a direct threat to your business.

Acknowledging the importance of these industry core values, Michael Kyprianou & Co. LLC, prides itself in being the first law firm in Cyprus to join forces with renowned training experts, offering an all-inclusive world class service.

Our media handling communications consultation package, includes everything you need to confidently comply with industry specific media guidelines, legislation, charterer requirements and much more.

We assist you in:

  • Developing your social profile to safeguard your reputation
  • Conducting risk assessments and gap analysis
  • Planning the ideal strategy for your company
  • Drafting policies aligned with your ERT plan
  • Training all levels of your staff
  • Providing 24/7 media and social media management support
  • Mitigating your risk and liabilities
  • Reducing monetary and reputational damage

Additionally, we maintain close connections with local and international maritime, energy, transport and wider press, as well as with major response agencies, being in a position to safeguard our client’s reputation at all times globally.

Let us become your trusted partner in building trusted relationships!

For any further information please contact Gina Panayiotou, Global Head of Shipping & Energy by email at gina.panayiotou@kyprianou.com or by phone at [+357] 25363685.