Thrive’s corporate communications and issues management teams have been working around the clock in the current climate. This week, we will introduce you to some of our brilliant talent who typically prefer to stay out of the spotlight. With corporate and crisis specialists across the country, let's start with Jacinta Chapman, Group Account Director in Melbourne.
Jacinta achieved her first newspaper front page at age three, when she graced the cover of The Sun in a photo celebrating the ‘birthday’ of all racehorses at her parents’ agistment property. She has spent her career since helping her clients reach their own PR goals. She has worked primarily in corporate communications, public affairs and strategic marketing for the likes of Ambulance Victoria, Nando’s and Yarra Valley Water and has been a key lead in stakeholder strategy, crisis and corporate comms for Thrive for the past two years.
Cin, as she’s known around the office, is one of our greatest company advocates. We love her at Thrive for her caring nature and ability to stay calm no matter what crisis comes her way. We sat down with Cin to find out more about her background and her grand plans for the future.
What appeals to you about working with brands and leaders through times of crisis for their business?
If we ‘get it right’ we can make someone’s worst day a whole lot less impactful and on a good day, make it a whole lot better.
Many times when we are called in to help a client in a time of crisis, there are high levels of stress. We can’t be afraid to ask the toughest of tough questions. We need all the facts on the table to be able to protect a business or an individual. We need to work incredibly quickly to develop a trusted mutual relationship.
We provide strategic counsel and advice on how to protect not only the brand but also the individuals affected by the issue - from members of an organisation’s Board, right through to the most junior employee. Part of our role, and the one that I find the most rewarding, is helping leaders to craft and deliver messages that are true to their own voice while delivering on the organisation’s needs.
The importance of a strong communications program and having a plan in place to mitigate issues is demonstrated more than ever in the current climate around COVID-19. Uncertainty is prevalent which means transparent communications is a must. Organisations who manage their communications well can emerge with their business, staff and reputation intact, if not strengthened.
From a communications perspective, what do you think differentiates organisations who are managing the situation well versus those who are struggling?
In times of uncertainty if your staff, clients, customers and stakeholders don’t hear from you, they’ll make up their own narrative. The businesses who are doing it well have a plan in place, are communicating regularly and are making sure that they are owning their messaging. We know that there is considerable anxiety around what’s happening in the world. Business leaders who talk about doom and gloom will lose trust. Their competitors will take the opportunity to undermine them and pick up new customers and steal quality staff.
Those organisations who are delivering their message with a clear tone of ‘we will face challenges like everyone else but we are in a strong position’ will emerge with staff and customer loyalty. In the long term, they will have built stronger teams and in return better businesses.
What are you most excited about in the year ahead at Thrive?
We know that people always prefer to buy from, work for or work with a company that they know about, they hear about, they like, they trust and that they feel good about. It means that when something does go wrong, we’ve got trust and goodwill we can draw down on, just like you would a savings account. Each and every day our Thrivers work with our clients to deposit ‘trust dollars’ into their Trustbank. The importance of this has become even more apparent in recent weeks.
We’ve continued to build our crisis and corporate team across Australia and New Zealand and have been investing further in building and extending the team’s capabilities in this space. We have specialist skills and knowledge in each of our five offices, it’s an incredible investment on our MD’s behalf and I’m super excited to be leading the charge and guiding the team to deliver robust and tested best practice approaches.
We are seeing more and more of our current and new clients come to us to help guide them in their two way conversations with their stakeholders, internal teams, business partners, government as well as media. We take a 360 strategic approach to how they are communicating through their earned, owned and paid channels. When we combine our communications team with our content/digital team, we can deliver a consistent ‘one voice’ message.
And inevitably things can and do go wrong. Preparation is key. I’m really excited to be working with a number of our clients to develop issues and crisis communications plans proactively. We love nothing more than getting into the trenches but when everyone knows how and when to escalate an issue, what our agreed approach will be on all of our channels and that we have key spokespeople who are trained and prepared, we can really protect the brands we are working with. Sure there are times when clients are blindsided but that’s when we get to flex our muscle and our clients put their reputations in our hands.
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