Michael Brown’s case in Ferguson, MO

Over a hundred people marched down the streets of St. Louis (MO) last Saturday claiming for the police officer who shot Michael Brown to be imprisoned straight away. The final decision on whether the officer should face prison is to be made in the following days, and Tensions between the police and the protesters rose soon, and a few people ended up getting hurt after flying objects were thrown from both sides.

President Obama called for the protesters to stay calm and not jump into conclusions before the final decision is disclosed on Monday- as did Brown’s family. Both the National Guard and local officials have been planning a massive police presence to stop any potential violence that might break out in case the outcome is not the one expected  by the protesters. They will most likely have to mediate between those who want Wilson to be indicted and those who think he should be cleared of all charges.

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Steps to solving a crisis

Blogger Jennifer A. Jones, who describes herself as a global leader in social media marketing, dedicated a post to describe what she called “the six steps of good crisis communications”. Those steps were the following:

1- Reach out to your audience where they are; connect with them personally and directly.

2- Tell the truth. Speak honestly and plainly about what happened – what went wrong.

3- Explain how you will fix the problem in the short term; how you will make things right.

4- Also, explain how you will ensure the problem will never happen again.

5- Tell your listener what they need to do (i.e. return a defective product or change passwords.)

6- Follow-up with details showing how the solution is working and use specific examples.

Her full description can be read in her blog:(http://jenniferjonesblog.com/2014/09/23/crisis-communications-case-study/).

But now, how can Jones’ steps be adapted to either an organization or individual embroiled in a crisis? Even though her steps are used to illustrate FDR’s particular case, they can easily be extrapolated to a different cause. Many enterprises and individuals have followed these steps in the last few years- in one way or another, and introducing their very own changes. An organization could always benefit from following these steps, trying not to skip any of them. Reaching out to the audience (and knowing exactly who your audience is) by making it feel comfortable will help when having to explain how the problem will be fixed and how it will never happen again. Steps five and six involve the listener, the audience, being told what to do and the organization releasing details of how the solution is working through the use of examples.
Any organization or individual going through a crisis should review all these steps and try to follow them if they want to stay on business.