When people talk about volatility in the energy sector, they’re typically referring to commodities pricing. But volatility is also of great concern to the communications team for energy companies because, in order to protect their brands, they must regularly triage incidents that are unpredictable - and escalate fast. Energy company comms teams often run lean, yet when an incident hits, the ramifications are often very severe. This means crisis management in the energy sector is especially important.
Addressing Pre-Viral Stories
Comms teams in the energy sector face intense challenges, because they are often dealing with dangerous operating environments, with the energy security of entire nations and, at times, in matters of life and death. To add to the complexity, the geographically dispersed nature of assets – which often are unbranded – means that comms professionals need a lot of information to know for certain if an incident involves their business.
When a comms professional relies on early awareness of an issue to properly control it, ambiguity is the enemy. Comms teams need to know immediately if their brand is involved in an incident. But the challenge is exacerbated by the sheer volume and complexity of the data sources that can lead to information discovery, and traditional news platforms may impose a lag time on critical insights. This puts increased responsibility on comms teams to gain early awareness by examining public information. From social media platforms to blogs and other publicly accessible sources such as environmental sensors, there is a widening window through which to view the landscape in which their business operates.
High Stake Stakeholders
Public sentiment can move markets, and positive shareholder sentiment is a mission-critical goal for a corporation’s board. Comms professionals, whether in oil and gas firms or emerging solar innovators, therefore need to deal with events as they unfold. They can’t wait for the news to break. Modern investor and public relations relies on real time insight and timely communications.
Increasingly, the most responsive and effective brands build their comms strategy as information becomes available, not as the media breaks the story. This ensures they are prepared when news spreads and have already devised a suitable answer for every scenario. By managing the corporate brand in this way, comms teams can manage risk and, when applicable, defend the share price - delivering outcomes faster.
Real-time responses to event detection and brand management are becoming the norm. Businesses that fail to act this way will find themselves falling behind the competition, and will put their communications team in an untenable position.