Effective communication is crucial for every organization and every leader. My experience is that great communication is often a proxy for general excellence and strong leadership. My experience as both a consumer and marketer during a string of recent brand crises prompted me to think about best practices for communication that leaders and companies should always strive to uphold.
- Don’t over-communicate good news and hide bad news. While sharing good news is always easy, communicating bad news, or potential risks, in a transparent and timely manner is arguably more important. Earlier this year, the leader of a company sent me an upbeat update email about their business, with a fundraising ask, that completely ignored significant business challenges that I had learned about elsewhere. The email eroded my trust in that business, and its leader.
- Go deep. People appreciate detail, especially when things aren’t going well. How strong leaders communicate is representative of how they operate: thoughtfully and effectively.
- Don’t be silent in a crisis. In a crisis, especially as it begins to unfold, you’ll rarely have all the answers. However, your constituents want and need to know you’re aware of the problem and are working on a solution. Honesty and transparency build credibility with your audience, as does providing a timeline of when you’ll be able to share more information.
- Be proactive. It’s always better to be too early than too late. First impressions matter a lot, and you never get a chance to go back when you miss the early window. Waiting for the dust to settle before communicating can place in you in a trust deficit.
The best leaders and companies do all of the above. They communicate early and transparently, and they share both good and bad news with a high level of detail.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Robert Glazer, Founder & CEO, Acceleration Partners, Author of Moving To Outcomes: Why Partnerships Are The Future Of Marketing
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