Communicate in a Crisis Book Summary - Communicate in a Crisis Book explained in key points
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Communicate in a Crisis summary

Kate Hartley

Understand, Engage and Influence Consumer Behaviour to Maximize Brand Trust

4.1 (89 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

Communicate in a Crisis by Kate Hartley provides a guide for communicating effectively during a crisis. It offers practical advice to stay calm, adapt to the situation, and communicate clearly with your team and stakeholders.

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    Communicate in a Crisis
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    Consumers build close relationships with brands that are authentic and transparent.

    Let’s begin with the story of an unhappy customer. 

    Ashley is an environmental campaigner from Florida. A few years ago, Ashley needed to buy a new car – but it couldn’t be just any car. If she was going to drive at all, it could only be with a sustainable vehicle. So she opted for a Volkswagen. The company had a reputation for being environmentally friendly. What could go wrong?

    Ashley was happy with her purchase until news broke of a scandal. Volkswagen had lied about the amount of carbon dioxide its vehicles released into the atmosphere. The actual number was far higher than the company had originally declared.

    Ashley felt betrayed: the brand she had championed had broken her trust. So she retaliated on social media, writing posts about how let down she felt. 

    Here’s the key message: Consumers build close relationships with brands that are authentic and transparent.

    In today’s world, consumers connect with brands on an intimate level. When we like a brand, we enter into an emotional relationship with them. We give them our loyalty, and we expect their loyalty in return. 

    These are called passion brands – ones that, for some reason or another, just get us. Once these brands have us hooked, we’re with them for life. If you tried persuading a Mac user to switch to a PC, for example, you probably wouldn’t be that successful. 

    This is because brands are part of our social identity. They make us feel smart or fashionable, or maybe they reflect something we’re passionate about, like the environment. Think about why you bought your favorite pair of sneakers: you’re likely a fan of the brand’s ethos, and you like the feeling of being associated with a cool product. 

    The problem is, brands we support can also let us down. A good example of this is Facebook – a platform many of us rely on to protect our private conversations, memories, and photos. 

    In 2018, the social media giant broke the trust of its users when it shared their personal data with Cambridge Analytica – without permission. Unsurprisingly, users were outraged. In fact, a 2018 poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey revealed that one in five people in the UK deleted their account immediately after the scandal. 

    Every brand will experience a crisis at some point– and when they do, they’ll need to know how to respond. We’ll take a look at this in the following blinks.

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    What is Communicate in a Crisis about?

    Communicate in a Crisis (2019) explores how brands can communicate sensitively and effectively in a crisis. Author Kate Hartley explains why consumers connect so intimately with brands, and why social media is a threat to businesses. She also offers valuable advice for how to execute a crisis communication plan.

    Communicate in a Crisis Review

    Communicate in a Crisis (2021) by Kate Hartley is a timely and essential read for anyone looking to effectively navigate and communicate during difficult times. Here's why this book stands out:

    • With its practical strategies and actionable advice, it equips readers with the tools to effectively handle crises and effectively communicate under pressure.
    • Combining real-life case studies and expert insights, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of crisis communication, ensuring readers are well-prepared for any situation.
    • What makes this book far from boring is its engaging and relatable approach to crisis communication, making it accessible and interesting for both professionals and individuals.

    Best quote from Communicate in a Crisis

    Crises are human catastrophes that require truly human responses.

    —Kate Hartley
    example alt text

    Who should read Communicate in a Crisis?

    • PR and marketing professionals 
    • Businesses recovering from a crisis
    • Leaders seeking to develop crisis management skills

    About the Author

    Kate Hartley has over 25 years’ experience working in PR, reputation management, and crisis communications. She is the cofounder of Polpeo, an organization that trains brands on how to manage crises that play out online. 


    © Kate Hartley, 2019. This Summary of Communicate in a Crisis is published by arrangement with Kogan Page.

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    Communicate in a Crisis FAQs 

    What is the main message of Communicate in a Crisis?

    The main message of Communicate in a Crisis is to effectively communicate during challenging situations.

    How long does it take to read Communicate in a Crisis?

    The reading time for Communicate in a Crisis varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Communicate in a Crisis a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Communicate in a Crisis is a valuable read for anyone looking to improve their crisis communication skills. It offers practical strategies and insights for effectively navigating difficult situations.

    Who is the author of Communicate in a Crisis?

    The author of Communicate in a Crisis is Kate Hartley.

    What to read after Communicate in a Crisis?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Communicate in a Crisis, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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