Maxima crisis & communication in Riga: structural comparison

P.S. This blog record will be updated and modified as long as new data become available.

It is usually assumed, that crisis communication cannot be measured without internal data. Nevertheless, some key performance indicators could be selected. I took some of these and tried to identify some well-known comparable crisis communication situation in Latvia and Lithuania.

Maxima crisis in Riga Comparable precedents in Latvia and Lithuania
First public proactive response
(holding statement)
 too late
(~3-4 hours after collapse)
in 1 hour
(OlainFarm)
Spokesperson(s) at least 7 employees made public appearences during the first week one person + (in case of top level emergency) top maneger
(explosions in Mažeikiai oil refinery in 2001, 2008 and 2012, fire in 2006)
Empathy and support for those suffering next day
(Gintaras Jasinskas photo with a candle, financial support promise)
Public “I’m sorry for …”
(I.Staškevičius press conference)
Direct communication with major stakeholders not clear,
LV officials later were complaining for not receiving feedback from the leading managers
Top management as a messenger
(OlainFarm)
Direct communication with clients www updated only next week after the collapse distributing electric heaters for free to residents without heating in 3 hours after the accident
(Vilniaus energija)
Press conference next day 11 AM onsite media briefing in 3 hours after the accident
(Vilniaus energija)
Media relations “No” to live PBK appearance after initial confirmation Open onsite access for all media representatives
(OlainFarm)
Consistent storyline/position We’re renting / We’re owners
(confirming press release)
Company response to heating pipes failure in Telšiai
(Litesko)
Company-wide consistency “Jamam” sales promotion day in Lithuania was not canceled on Nov 23rd SEB employees urging client’s to withdraw money from the ‘falling bank’
(unconfirmed gossip from SEB crisis in late 2002)

In a view of crisis communication principles Maxima has consistently repeated several mistakes:

  • changed the official storyline – i.e. lied or told only partial truth;
  • TOP management was not involved as spokespersons, function was not clear attributed to selected employee;
  • initially empathy was expressed only in a form of monetary payments.