What lies ahead for Middle East’s
crisis communications landscape?

A crisis communications strategy is an integral part of an organization’s emergency preparedness, its approach to employee wellbeing and ultimately, the brand’s reputation itself. Companies and organizations that do not respond immediately in the face of a crisis are likely to suffer from diminished marketplace trust.

One must remember that in an occurrence of an emergency, the need to communicate is not only immediate but is also most essential. Partners, stakeholders and the general public will want to know what is going on and what is being done to address the situation. All of these stakeholders will express their concern to know more about the situation--even before the company or the organization can begin to communicate its side. An effective crisis communications plan facilitates transparency and reflects an organization’s decisiveness when struck with an unforeseen development.

Most prominent crisis communication challenges include the presence of too much information or the lack of information and relevant details; absence of authorized spokespeople; and perceived lack of transparency from the organization’s part. However, as earlier pointed out, speed is the name of the game and time is one's most important resource.

No doubt, 2020 has added many new dimensions to crisis communication, so what does the future hold for it? The nature of challenges, as reflected by the spread of COVID-19 this year, is constantly evolving and therefore, crisis communication strategies should also be constantly reviewed by organizations in the Middle East to keep up with such unforeseen events. The role of technology, as is the case with any other area of operations, is being increasingly relevant in the field of crisis communications too. For instance, media monitoring tools that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast the impact of an unprecedented crisis can be effectively harnessed to enhance your resilience. Such tools represent the future of crisis communications in 2021 and beyond, also due to their significant role in safeguarding data. Furthermore, through the integration of the applications of predictive analytics and other technological advancements, businesses in the Middle East can also cut down the number of situations that require the implementation of a crisis response strategy.

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