WestJet acknowledges changing face of crisis communications

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Today, H&K Canada announced that it had been retained by WestJet, Canada’s leading low-fare airline, to provide crisis communications preparedness services and media training. As my colleague and senior crisis counsellor, Boyd Neil, said in the release: “Our approach to crisis centres on helping clients focus on what’s important – engaging key stakeholders and establishing processes so clear-headed thinking is in command during a crisis situation. Today this means integrating digital and social media strategies into crisis communication planning and execution – a philosophy which WestJet shares.”

Working for any company that understands the changes unfolding in our business is always refreshing. And in an industry where body-blows to reputation can have potentially tragic and fatal results, the ability to communicate openly, transparently and as compassionate human beings is essential.

From one who participated in the actual pitch, I was both surprised and exhilirated by WestJet’s clear grasp of the importance of social media as an integrated component of their crisis preparedness plan, and their willingness to embrace it. And while they challenged our thinking, and continue to do so, they freely acknowledge that the communications dynamic in times of crisis – which now includes Blogs and Facebook, Youtube and Flickr, among others - has changed dramatically from what it was even 18 months ago, and continues to change… and that they need to be prepared for it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting to another client on crisis and digital, and speaking to issues where lives may also be put at risk. I hope this audience is equally receptive.

 

5 Comments
19

Sep
2007

Michael Gurevich

Great to hear that. Maybe a good first step to establish two-way dialogue with stakeholders would be to launch a blog. The guys at Delta are doing quite a good job with their new blog at: http://blog.delta.com/

19

Sep
2007

Brendan Hodgson

Hi Michael, without going into detail and keeping in mind that H&K’s remit is focused more on crisis preparedness (and in my case the integration of social media as appropriate), WJ is indeed exploring a variety of options based on best practices across a number of sectors, aviation and otherwise.

21

Sep
2007

David Jones

Congrats.  This is an exciting development for our industry.  Thanks for blogging about it so we can all follow along with how things progress.

21

Sep
2007

Brendan Hodgson

Thanks Dave, it is exciting… and, like you, I also hope that I and/or WestJet do get the chance to talk more about this. I’ll keep you posted.

Add a comment