4 June 2012 9 Comments

Brand communication: Dana Air crash and crisis communication management

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Dana Plane, Dana Airline, Dana Plane crash NigeriaOne vital ingredient which promotes brand success is how effectively it communicates. Everyone involve in a relationship knows that what will become the lot of a relationship after going through crisis is majorly dependent on how effectively the parties involve communicate during and after the crisis or down time.

Sunday June 3, 2012 brought to memory what happened some five years ago in Nigeria. A plane crash in Lagos claimed precious lives. The plan crash did not only claim lives of ordinary Nigerians, but many important dignitaries like Levi Ajunouma, Aikhomu’s son and John Ahmadu among many others. A pathetic and touching story was a mother with her three children involved. Indeed the nation is in great mourning for losing 153 citizens.

As an online addict, my first reaction was to find out what ordinary citizen journalists have to say. As expected, the online media was filled with different versions of the likely cause and pictures of the crashed plane. Some claimed the ill-fated plane had technical issues while many said it was just an act of god. Official source claimed the plane had sent a distressed call before the incident happened. Here, we are not joining issues with any of the statements above. Aviation Ministry had set up a panel of enquiry and it is better we wait for the outcome.

Having said this, our concern here is the crisis communication management approach of some of the concerned parties. But before the analysis, we will like to maintain silence on expected roles  Aviation Ministry and by extension Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority- the regulatory Agency should have played; should had played. Our discussion will focus around the management of Dana Air. Dana Air is a brand that is playing prominent role in the Aviation industry here.

A plane crash is not just a child play. It most cases, it involves lost of many precious lives. Life is the most sacred of all the things. For this reason, one would have expected positive steps taken to lessen the effect of the plane crash with effective crisis communication management. Newspapers report did say, Dana Air had immediately after the crash secured its office with Armed Police men in order to prevent mob action against the company’s properties. While going to the office this morning, I did see three police vehicles with Armed Policemen in front of the office. Yet no official statement has been made till now.

In an environment where there is strong crisis Communication plan in place-Online and Offline, One would have expected an official statement from a top management expressing shock and grief. Not only that, it should have communicated with the families through available media as soon as the passenger manifest was released.  At least if personal contact was not feasible within the short time.

Since there are rumours-flying around in the online media and Channels Television had confirmed the story too, about the air worthiness of the plane in question, one expects Dana Air should have used the same media to clear the air as fast as possible. More also, an ongoing media briefing should not be out of place with regards to what its management in conjunction with relevant Aviation Authorities are doing to mitigate the grief of the families of the affected people in  the ill-fated plane.

 We feel maintaining silence and trying to secure Dana Air’s properties may be a good step to safe its face for now, but what happens after the crisis had died down? Will Dana Air commands the same respect it used to? Will the image of the Airline remain the same? Will the families of those who paid Air fare but died in the crashed plane forgive them? Will Dana Air through this approach secure sympathy from its avowed and loyal customers?

This is time to act. Over to you, what do you think Dana Air in Nigeria should have done?

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