In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice runs after the White Rabbit and finds herself tumbling down his rabbit hole into a brand new place. There, she finds a door she can’t get through, so she shrinks herself to be able to use a tiny key she found. When she still couldn’t get through the door, she’s forced to munch on some cake that makes her grow to over nine feet tall – and bumps her head!
When you’re dealing with the media, especially during a disaster or backlash, it sometimes feels like things are getting “curioser and curioser” with no end in sight. Eventually it’s almost like you’ve been tumbling your whole life and the rabbit hole goes forever. There are some lessons you can learn from Alice and her experience, though.
The worst part about falling down the rabbit hole when a disaster strikes is how long it takes to finally land somewhere. After the initial news story comes out about, say, your product encountering a critical failure, you start the slow ride down. While the initial wave of problems and reports may only take a day or two, it might as well be forever.
In the meantime you’ll spin and turn in mid-air, waiting for something to finally happen so you can land. It may not be on your feet, but you’ll land eventually. In other words, you’ll come to a point where the flow of bad press and stories stops and you can work on healing.
The garden Alice sees is unattainable until she does a few things to open the door. Likewise, your company healing from the bad experience won’t happen until a few things happen.
Alice had to shrink herself to reach the key to the door. Your business must also shrink – at least when it comes to the day to days. Things aren’t quite the same as they were before you encountered your disaster. Those people who bought your product only to have it completely fail on them won’t be happy with “business as usual.”
So you have to shrink down your operation to get back to the basics. You’ve got to let everyone know you’re working on what went wrong and how to make amends. Shrinking down to a more manageable size means you’re getting back to what you started with in the first place.
In the next part of the rabbit hole story, Alice eats the piece of cake in order to grow big enough to get through the door to the garden. However, she grows just a little bit too much and bangs her head which makes her cry.
Your business has to rebound somehow. After you shrink down and fix everything (broken product, customer orders, public opinion), it’s time to grow back up, better and bigger than ever. However, where Alice went wrong is she grew too far too fast. Had the admittedly magic cake given her the opportunity, she could’ve grown a little slower at the correct rate.
Try to learn from Alice’s mistake when your business is rebounding from a disaster. Your natural instinct may be to do as much as you can in as little a time. However, this might not be the best plan, and could just lead to more tears!
What’s the worst disaster your business has suffered through?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html