Does Your Company Have a Crisis Communications Plan?
We live in an age where bad news travels fast. Publishers like news channels, websites, social media and blogs depend on tragedy and drama to retain viewership and drive advertising dollars. Is your business prepared to manage a crisis? Has your operation developed a crisis communications plan that allows you to respond to media requests and proactively communicate with shareholders? Have you identified your communications team, clarified roles and practiced scenarios? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to begin today.
Talk to us Today to Create a Crisis Communications Plan!
What’s involved in a crisis communications plan?
- Form your communications plan response team?
- Select stakeholders that require proactive communications and public relations
- Identify your community (members of the public that deserve proactive communications)
- Anticipation of scenarios and vulnerabilities
- Identify spokespeople
- Identify training needs
- Setting up a war room
- Pre-written responses, talking points and scripts
- Technology to communicate, monitor and manage information
- Share the ethics of your crisis communications plan – be honest, prompt and engaged
- Post crisis communication analysis- what was the impact on your business reputation?
A crisis will never happen to our business, but what if it does happen?
If you don’t have a strategy in place the media will eat you alive! You probably won’t have time to establish an ad hoc plan and the errors your team makes in reacting will be costly and possibly fatal to your business. A crisis communications plan is a low investment high return element of your operating strategy.
Crisis Communications in response to situations you create.
Examples of situations that your company creates and generates community interest such as lay-offs, an exiting executive, public relations nightmares, legal action or acquisitions. Your crisis communications plan allows your team to proactively communicate changes at your firm.
A positive side effect
On a positive note, a crisis communications plan will also help you identify a communications process. This process allows your team to respond to positive press opportunities. I’m sure you’ve experienced a situation where the local television station calls looking for information about your business or a comment on a current story. Reception takes the call and not being sure forwards the reporter to the accounting department or president’s office. The reporter leaves a message with “someone,” who in turn calls everyone in senior leadership to see who should talk with the press. Obviously this isn’t the way to capitalize on an opportunity!
Nobody expects an employee’s behavior to endanger their businesses reputation. Nobody expects a data breach or crisis to happen at their office. Your company must have a crisis communications plan that provides a clear strategy for dealing with an unexpected public relations nightmare or expected event? If you don’t, you’re giving control of your reputation to outside voices who will define your company and provide speculation regarding the event. Simply stated, you don’t have time to create a communications strategy after the crisis has happened!
A crisis is never expected and to be unprepared is disastrous. Your business’s reputation is at stake.