Not really. By definition, a crisis for an organization is any event that can have significant, negative effects on the company, its employees, customers or shareholders. Negative effects may include damage to a brand’s reputation, financial performance or its overall ability to operate. While these crises sometimes happen out of the blue, you would be surprised how many of those events are foreseeable.
Either way, no one wants to plan for a crisis. It can take a tremendous amount of work and man hours, and most people don’t even know where to start.
There are two basic steps in the process: Crisis Planning and Scenario Planning.
There’s a saying in this business — good crisis communications are 90 percent planning and practice, and 10 percent execution.
So naturally, the first step is to create an overall crisis communications plan. This will enable you to know who to talk to and what to say immediately after a crisis occurs. To create your plan, you need to:
With this information, you will be able to react quickly and effectively as situations arise.
Gather your crisis team in a room for the day and review your top ten “scary scenarios.” Walk through and decide how you will react and respond to each scenario, who you are communicating with and in what order. Your goal for the day is to not only identify issues, but to set up a process that will work for most, if not all of them.
There are some important steps that should be taken as soon as a crisis situation is identified. Here’s my tried-and-true list of crisis communications best practices:
There are a lot more details that go into a solid crisis plan, but taking these basic steps can help get you started. Give yourself the peace of mind that comes by creating your crisis communications plan now.