MADISON, Wis. (7/27/11)--“How can credit unions communicate more effectively in the midst of a crisis?” A CUNA council white paper has the answer. Many credit unions have disaster recovery plans identifying how to function operationally during the time of a crisis. With crises varying from power outages, to public relations blunders, to major catastrophic events, how well does the disaster recovery plan address the credit union’s plan for communication? The new white paper from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council titled, “Crisis Communications,” stresses the importance of preparing for crises and how to engage with various audience groups when a crisis occurs. Credit unions may experience a variety of events that can cause long-lasting emotional, financial, and reputational damage. Robberies, fraud, severe weather and cyber-attacks are just a few of the threats that credit unions face, and understanding the potential risk and having an action plan to respond are critical. Credit unions should be proactive in preparing for situations that can damage not only their reputations, but also daily activities and communication channels with internal audiences (employees and staff members) and external audiences (members and the public at large). This white paper reviews the basics of crisis communications, including defining a crisis, perceptions of a crisis, and message strategies implemented in a crisis situation. Several emerging crisis communication issues relevant to credit unions include:
* Online reputation management issues within social media; * Perception of crises: Differences between current versus highly likely events; * Reputation threats and challenges; and * Implications and evolution of mobile technologies.
Also, the white paper reports the results from a pilot survey for credit union professionals regarding the current challenges and opportunities they see for crisis communication practices. Credit union professionals contributed their main crisis situation concerns and their perspectives about future training and education opportunities in crisis communications. The paper is available online. Use the link.