“The formerly hidden site took over the airline’s website homepage, acting as an immediate and official source of crisis information and updates,” says Poynton. “Promotional activities were replaced by a colourless background and logo – branding which was also replicated across its Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts. Together it would convey the sense that the airline was not only taking the issue extremely seriously, but was also prepared.”
While the effectiveness of the airline’s initial response was later nixed by their mistakes and the crash of flight MH17 just months later, Malaysia Airlines’ quick deployment of a dark site was widely considred a textbook example of good crisis communications. When a crisis hits, people turn to the web for information and they begin with Google. Since the affected company’s website will inevitably come up high in search rankings, it’s important that clear communications are published by the company as soon as possible.
The TEKGROUP online newsroom offers a crisis communications center or “dark site” that is easy to use and can be pushed live quickly when a crisis hits. From our research with journalists, we know that an organization’s ability to communicate clearly and quickly during a crisis is crucial to the press: 46% of journalists say that an organization’s crisis communications are “very important” and 91% say these efforts are “important.”