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Conference and World Food Day 2017

Crisis communication: What (not) to do in times of crisis?

Sara Mikrut Vunjak, LL.M.
Croatian Food Agency, Osijek, Croatia

In recent years, we have witnessed several situations of foodborne hazards in Europe. With the process of globalization, the open borders and the expansion of online media, the flow of goods and information became much faster, and therefore more effective and accurate reaction of those potentially responsible is required. Consequently, those situations require a special communication approach and are highly communicative-sensitive and, in that context, we can talk about crisis communication.

Although, each crisis seems to be specific and it may seem that requires a different approach, there are some rules that must be followed and can be applied to any crisis situation. In the presentation, I will reflect on the negative examples of crisis communication, in order to emphasise what should not be done in the times of crisis, and what can we learn from other mistakes.

The crisis is a test for the reputation of the responsible communications carriers, whether we speak about industry or public authorities, and in crisis the reputation could be irretrievably destroyed. But can we profit from the crisis? Is it possible to turn an inconvenience into an opportunity and emerge as a winner from a crisis situation?