Norman Ng

Turning a PR Crisis to Your Advantage

In Crisis Communications, Public Relations on September 14, 2011 at 22:15

David Conner, CEO, OCBC. Photo: Bloomberg

It’s a war, everytime a PR crisis strikes, we’re scrambling on a loss minimization mode on the enterprise’s reputation. But one company seemed to successfully turned a catastrophic incident to strengthen positive portrayals.

That company refers to OCBC, Singapore’s 2nd largest lender which deployed a full scale media outreach campaign to inform stakeholders on a 4 hour glitch on its systems, causing massive service disruptions.

I particularly like the fact that mass SMSes were sent out with messages from David Conner, CEO of OCBC, stating “Many customers were inconvenienced, for which I sincerely apologise. At the same time, many of our customers were patient and understanding, for which I am deeply grateful”. This is where good leadership and responsive communications plays a role to arrest reputation downside risks in such a crisis. Something which I mentioned enterprises ought to have, such as in the SMRT Crisis in previous posts, and hot on the heels of similar glitches by the DBS.

This incident exudes control, sincerity and professionalism on OCBC. It’s heartening to know that they even enlisted the media  to broadcast messages on the glitches. So instead of the media lynching them, they leveraged on them as partners instead of adversaries.

All in all, a positive case study, turning adversity into good opportunity. Kudos to OCBC.

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