New thinking for new media
Business continuity managers have traditionally seen the media as something of a threat; but a different approach can bring big benefits.
By Abdullah Al Hour, MBCI.
What contributed to the building of such a negative understanding is the way that media has been seen to operate. Being tightly controlled and non-interactive, media denied external parties, such as business continuity managers, the opportunity to involve themselves with media systems and people. Thus, instead of proactively providing positive information to the media, business continuity managers naturally moved to being reactive. This position has been strengthened by the fact that mainstream media knows little about business continuity management and its specific roles.
What is needed is a different approach to the way that business continuity managers and the media relate to each other. This shift can build on the huge transition we witness today from old media to new media. Instead of looking to the media as a threat, it should be seen as a stakeholder; and therefore its interests should be considered within the business continuity management system.
Media: moving from reactivity to interactivity
When moving from old to new, media have shifted from the previous analogue, non-interactive, one-way media to the digital, interactive, and two-way features that we see today. Media space has moved from the airwaves and printing press to the Internet and the cyber world, which are accessible from almost anywhere and at any time from all sorts of devices; mobile and fixed.
Control over this new media is almost impossible. The concepts of citizen-journalism and the user-generated content published online tears apart all sorts of controls that old media used to practice. Editing rooms, broadcast schedules, and censorships have no place in the new media. Users can access virtually any published content at their convenience. Not only this, they have the capability to rate, comment, share, and object. Such features, although simple, allow the users to interact and, to some extent, direct the process of publishing.
Whereas old media was considered more of a threat than a friend by business continuity managers, the features of the new media leverage it to a high-potential partner and stakeholder.
Business continuity management: moving from internal awareness to external interaction
Business continuity standards and lifecycles have always stressed the importance of raising the ‘internal’ awareness levels of BCM within organizations. This activity is considered important as it enables BCM to be more embedded and integrated within the organization.
However, internal awareness raising may not always be enough to effectively get the message across. If business continuity managers manage to get the media to understand business continuity management in general, and the specifics of how it is managed within their own organization, it could prove helpful in a number of ways:
Establishing the media footprint
BCM and media: together
By opening the interactive communication channels during normal times, the organization can allow the external stakeholders to be part of the business recovery process and activities during incidents. Stakeholders may then be more appreciative of the recovery efforts that the organization is undertaking, since they have a better understanding of what is happening.
Disasters are negative, at most times, yet there can be opportunities hidden within them. Disasters are the best time to show to the external world how mature the organization is in terms of preparedness and readiness.
Author: Abdullah Al Hour, MBCI, is a business continuity manager at Alinma Bank.
•Date: 27th April 2012 • Middle East/World •Type: Article • Topic: Crisis communications