Every business is vulnerable to crisis, point blank. With the vast evolvement of social media, along with many other easily accessible news and media platforms, there is no place to run and hide from dilemma.
It’s critical that every company develops a well-thought-out crisis communications and issues management strategy in order to be proactive towards any curveball that is sent their way. Without a solid crisis management plan, the following issues may arise:
1. Operational procedures may crumble
2. Internal and external stakeholders may become unclear of what is happening and in turn, they become angry and confused very quickly
3. The amount of time to turn around a solid response to the crisis will often become lengthy and dramatic for all parties
4. Company finances and reputation may be at risk
If you’re serious about protecting your organization and planning ahead of crisis, check out the following 10 steps that your company can use to prepare. NOTE: the first seven steps should be addressed ahead of any crisis.
1. Ahead of crisis – Anticipate crises that may arise in your company and/or industry
2. Ahead of crisis – Identify the team that will be managing all things crisis-related (i.e. senior executives, communications department, etc. )
3. Ahead of crisis – Select your company’s key spokespersons. These individuals should have exceptional public speaking abilities, common sense, and be in the right position to speak on the topic at hand (i.e. CEO, CMO, Director of Communications, etc.)
4. Ahead of crisis – Media train your crisis management spokespersons with potential questions and responses, do’s and don’ts, etc.
5. Ahead of crisis – Install notification and monitoring systems in order to keep track of what is being said about the company in the media
6. Ahead of crisis – Understand who your stakeholders are and how you plan to communicate crisis/news to each specific group (i.e. holding statement, press release, newsletter, town hall, etc.)
7. Ahead of crisis – Develop holding statements that can be adapted to specific situations
8. During crisis – Assess the crisis situation
9. During crisis – Produce key messages
10. Post crisis – Analyze the crisis situation once it has come to an end and use these experiences to shape the company’s plan in regards to future challenges
Hopefully this crisis communications checklist is helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about how your company can further prepare to handle any challenge that comes their way!