Crisis Management firm Firestorm, a Novume Company, recently featured an interview with nationally recognized crisis expert, Firestorm Expert Council member and Visiting Professor at Lipscomb University, Dr. Robert Chandler.

Through a series of questions, the interview approaches the analysis of the crisis communication response of the Mandalay Bay Resort following the deadly October 1 shooting from two opposing viewpoints:

View one: Mandalay Bay Resort could have ‘done more’ to communicate via social media following the shooting. Some academics believe the resort did not follow a well-trained crisis communication plan based upon their responses and the delay in response time (a few hours post-shooting).

View two: Mandalay Bay Resort communicated adequately. Academics asked the question, “what more should Mandalay Bay have posted?” Stating, “in something that was so chaotic and so difficult, I’m not sure if social media messages could have helped people make better decisions.”

If you had been the communications director for the Resort following the shooting, what would you have done?

Dr Robert ChandlerDr. Robert Chandler (RC): The Resort and Hotel (and their parent company) should have a matrix of communication goals/needs/objectives for crisis situations sorted by target audiences. Using that matrix, it should be determined, in advance of an event, which communication channels (modalities) are the optimal methods for communicating (both sending and receiving messages) the specific communication goals/needs/objectives to each of the audience groups. They should also have alternative methods (channels or modalities identified in the event that a primary method isn’t successfully getting the message through to the targeted audience. This is the foundation for an emergency/crisis communication plan. In this case, I would have followed the plan.

Specifically, to whether it is good or bad to use or not use any particular communication method (i.e. website or social media) the answer has to be “it depends.” There are some messages for some audiences for whom a particular channel would seem to be both appropriate and effective with which to connect. Likewise, the same could be said for timing of certain messages. The bottom line is that there has to be a communication plan, with accompanying protocols, procedures, methods and messages which should be adaptable during horrific events such as this.

Do you believe Mandalay Bay Resort utilized a crisis communications plan?

(RC): I think that they may be have had a crisis communication plan but (as is so often the case) it should be upgraded and adapted to the challenges of… [read the full article on the Firestorm Solutions website]

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