In Miami, particularly Wynwood, and most recently a 1.5-square-mile section of Miami Beach, fear and confusion about Zika have spread faster than Zika itself, hence the importance of crisis management. To effectively handle a crisis, one must first weigh in on the related threats including public safety, financial and reputation loss, and then handle them sequentially. In any given crisis, public safety always takes priority.
Wynwood has been hit the hardest and small businesses are feeling the financial impact subsequent to panic and concern. This panic is hard to placate with education once it has escalated. To address public safety, sometimes it is best for those with financial interests to step aside and hire an expert, in this case a health-care professional with knowledge of the virus to help the public understand the risks and what is being done to prevent further spreading.
The CDC and local government have already begun efforts to do this. In addition, one must leverage the power of social media and be sure to engage in conversation drivers and with key influencers following the issue. This means developing a clear and effective platform with appropriate messaging for local and national media. Most importantly, be sure you know the facts, the only thing worse than saying nothing is saying the wrong thing.
By: Yeleny Suarez