January 13, 2021
As the world watched rioters overtake the Capitol building in January 2021, organizations moved quickly to release statements condemning the events we all witnessed.
In situations that require a statement, organizations must act quickly, as the stakes are high to strike the right tone that is consistent with your brand. With the right plan in place, your organization can create a public statement that speaks to key stakeholders and inspires action.
So, what should you be considering when drafting a public statement on behalf of your organization?
1. Think about the needs of your stakeholders
When drafting a public statement, make sure the concerns of your employees, investors, customers and other key audiences are addressed. Chances are, if you think you should release a statement, it is likely your stakeholders are looking for your stance on a given issue or situation.
After you draft up a statement addressing your stakeholders, make sure you publish it where your audience will see it. For example, when addressing employees, you may send out a company-wide email or bulletin, while you would likely address customers on social media—like Ben & Jerry’s did.
2. Develop a clear message
Ensure your message is clear and concise and that the language and tone is on brand. Leave no room for interpretation—a vague statement could lead to more questions or backlash.
For example, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) did not mince words or leave any gray area when they released a strong statement condemning the violence. NAM urged Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”
3. Turn words into action
In today’s social climate, it is not enough to simply release a statement and carry-on business as usual. Your audience will expect and demand action.
As we saw with racial justice protests over the summer, it was not enough to release a statement. Stakeholders demanded action from organizations to address racial injustices. In Cleveland, organizations came together to declare racism a public health crisis.
While each situation is different, having a public statement plan in place will allow your organization to act quickly. Decide who in your organization is responsible for drafting and reviewing the statement in advance to ensure the statement is clear and timely.
Remember that actions always speak louder than words, so be sure to commit to take concrete steps if necessary after releasing a statement.
Want to talk through your organization’s statement preparedness plan? Feel free to reach out.