“Every crisis is different” or what the Communication Congress 2015 teaches us
Keynote of Frank Schätzing at the Communication Congress (source: www.kommunikationskongress.de)[/caption] September 24, 2015 – Crisis communication was like every year “the topic” at the Communication Congress in Berlin last week. In retrospect, the crisis communication reagrding the strike of the engineers at Deutsche Bahn, the Germanwings plane crash, the ADAC crisis or the accusation that Daimler spies on its employees were described self-critically and openly as well as evaluated competently. All crisis experts agreed that every crisis follows a different logic and dynamic and therefore standardized preparations in form of crisis manuals only offer limited support as soon as the media. Last Saturday, nobody had today´s biggest crisis of the German economy in mind: the manipulations at VW. Volkswagen will survive this and maybe present this crisis as a case study at the Communication Congress 2016. The first decisions / actions / transparency will be evaluated: taking responsibility, the message of humility by the CEO, the cooperation with authorities and the clear will to clarify this case completely. With the help of these proven crisis management techniques, VW will manage to limit the drop height regarding its reputation and to build a solid foundation for a new start. So: Crises can´t be planned. Reactions of companies can be planned. Another learning from the Communication Congress: The big crisis of the German automotive industry wasn´t caused by Google car, Chinese spy software or American algorithms. No, the still quite new term Industry 4.0 is associated with the German industry as culprit. A lot to do for crisis communicators.