- Content Marketing
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Crisis Communication Lessons from Ukraine’s Unfolding Political Drama
Posted on December 4th 2013
Protests are continuing on the streets of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, as hundreds of thousands of citizens from across the country have joined forces to call for the immediate resignation of the country’s president, Victor Yanukovich. Political crisis is nothing new to the country that saw similar demonstrations during the Orange revolution of 2004 to 2005, though Yanukovich is currently dismissive of the protestors. CNN reports the President did not acknowledge the demonstrators’ frustration over his abrupt decision to stop seeking integration with the European Union, instead believing the protestors were pawns of his political opponents such as the imprisoned Ex-Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Though I am now in Moscow, I am still quite worried about what’s going on at home.
The crowds are chanting “revolution,” and insist they won’t stop until Ukraine undergoes a new presidential election. Dozens of individuals, including journalists, have been injured thus far in stand-offs between police and protestors. The situation isn’t easy, and it’s unlikely a resolution will be reached in the immediate future. While few organizations will ever face issues of a similar scale, there are valuable lessons in appropriate crisis communications to be gleaned from the ongoing political drama:
1. Present a Centralized Voice
The history between current president Yanukovich and former Prime Minister Tymoshenko is particularly long and complex. The charismatic, highly-educated Tymoshenko served as the golden-braided mascot of the Orange Revolution. Conflicts between Tymoshenko and Yankukovich lead to her being fired from her Prime Minister Role in 2007, though she was re-appointed in 2010.
Currently, Tymoshenko is serving 7 years in prison over charges for an alleged abuse of office. However, she still maintains a legion of strong support - particularly in the West - and passionately urged Ukrainians to demonstrate in the streets from her cell on Saturday. While Yanukovich may be the President, Tymoshenko leads the hearts of many Ukrainian nationals.
Regardless of your political affiliations, there’s apparent mixed messaging influencing the situation which is confusing both participants and bystanders worldwide. If your company ever finds yourselves in a deep crisis, it’s critical to present a single voice and story to the public to avoid similar mass confusion.
2. Never Understate the Situation
In one of the gravest mistakes made during the protests to date, Yanukovich openly dismissed the protestors’ calls for revolution, while Russian President Vladimir Putin called them “a pogrom.” Putin’s terminology is certainly charged, and undoubtedly more so among Ukrainian citizens. While organizations rarely face crises of a significant scale, common sense dictates that you should never dismiss a client’s complaints or become defensive when your position is challenged. Always acknowledge the issue, and try to be sympathetic towards the individuals affected.
3. Explain Decisions
While even political experts are struggling to unravel just how much of the Ukrainian protests are influenced by Yanukovich’s decision against signing the European Trade Deal and how much is the product of general political malaise, it’s abundantly clear that the President’s recent behavior hasn’t helped the situation. EU integration talks have been on the table for a full year, and no statements were released about the sudden choice to avoid signing which satisfied citizens.
Could a well-worded political statement about exactly why Yanukovich decided against EU integration have allowed Ukraine to avoid their current state of disaster? It’s unclear, but it seems certainly possible. When it comes to crisis communications, some effort at the front end can make all the difference in the world.
Having a crisis communications plan in place is crucial. While issues of any size occur at organizations, from breaches in data security to small customer service problems, adopting the basics of effective crisis communications can allow companies to avoid the escalation that’s currently ongoing in Kiev.