There is a big discussion that is often had about when and how to use the person at the top of the organisation to do media interviews. Managing the demands on the most senior person in the business is one of the most important things for a head of communication.
It doesn’t have an easy answer or formula for what to do and when to do it you have to look at the whole circumstances and situation. We use our professional knowledge and expertise to provide the best advice.
When we are facing a crisis who communicates and at what point becomes critical. I was interested to read the Media First blog about when to use your CEO. It argued that often it presented the wrong impression and gave no room for further development of the crisis deepens.
I have had interesting discussions about this following the terror attack in 2017 and events on New Year’s Eve. Some would question the immediate response to have the most senior person on camera. But it provided instant reassurance of how seriously things are being taken. It shows people that the situation is under control. It sends a strong message to people and to the staff and employees of the organisation.
One of the most important parts of the role of the CEO or other leader is to face the media when a crisis hits. They are most able to provide a situational update and to tackle the concerns people have and the questions that need to be answered. I know in many cases the CEO will demand to do the media seeing it as their responsibility.
In a crisis communicators really have an opportunity to show their worth. They can have a calm head and help steer the organisation through the turbulent waters. For me we have to look at the whole landscape and circumstances before making any decision but using the CEO can be the right thing to do.