I would expect Lufthansa one of the largest airlines in Europe, both in terms of overall passengers carried and fleet size, to have invested in a substantial crisis provision. Sadly, for all corporations, things will go wrong in any given situation, we know this as Murphy’s Law. A multimillion pound crisis business has been built on this premise. So when Germanwings crashed into the Alps on Tuesday, Carsten Spohr – the head of Lufthansa, the German carrier that owns Germanwings flipped into crisis mode.
He was well aware, because of training, all eyes were on his leadership. The systematic by the numbers response, triggered a series of effective actions, mobilising the networks invested in, to manage the deepening crisis. It was a well-built framework that allowed the spokesman to provide a message structure sealed with simple consistent clarity against a noisy backdrop of news-driven rumour and social opinion.
Despite pressures from all sides, Spohr was concise, clear and employed consistent messages which achieved cut through. Employing a range of proprietary psychological archetypes, he displayed the diligence required at the heart of crisis planning. The response was by the book; by allowing a pertinent interpretation of the facts he was rationally not emotionally resonant.
I was impressed by his ability to project a stoic inner strength – a balance of empathy and corporate diligence. The full text book was on display: speed of communication, factual content of messaging, trust and credibility, empathy and caring, competence and expertise, honesty and openness. The ideal level of commitment and dedication required to address all the issues of the catastrophe.
Few onlookers can ever decide at times of crisis if the response is ultimately perfect. Nevertheless the way that Lufthansa approached this horrific crash suggests that the brand is on a road to recovery.
Read more expert opinion on the issue on The Drum