Communication should be key for CEOs. But with a crisis as profound as this current economic one, it seems easier to hide under the desk.
Don't do it, says Michael W. Kempner, president and CEO of MWW Group, a communications and investor relations consulting firm. Top executives need to stay in touch with their shareholders and the public on the outside and their own employees inside. "At a time when all companies are being painted with the same brush, companies need to communicate more openly than ever before," he says. It doesn't depend on whether the news is good or bad.
Internal communications is also key. "In the most challenging environments, the ability to retain your best people is paramount -- they own your customers and serve as the face of your brand," he says.
Kempner has five specific tips:
- Communicate. No news is definetly not good news.
- Define interim success. Set mini-benchmarks to guide you in communications.
- Reinforce key messages. People believe they after a while.
- Reputation is your friend. Don't let anyone but you define who you are.
- Substance over form. Don't be too slick.