With the speed of communication today, businesses must take steps to be prepared for a crisis. While it’s impossible to prepare for every potential type of crisis, having a well-thought-out crisis communication plan is essential.
There are a number of key areas to address in that plan.
- Your Crisis Communication Team should include the company CEO, a vice president, your main communications person and your legal counsel. You might want to include others depending on the type and location of the crisis.
- It’s important to clearly spell out specific duties and who should be responsible for those tasks. Consider everything from notifying employees to distributing news releases or media statements to monitoring social media to see what is being communicated about the situation.
- Identifying your target audiences is vital. Target audiences should include regulators, local government leaders, customers, vendors and, of course, your employees.
- Many companies look to their CEO to be the spokesperson in a crisis. But he or she may not be the best person to put before the cameras and microphones. Be sure to identify someone who can speak clearly and answer questions appropriately under pressure. Also be sure that spokesperson is up to speed with all of the current information necessary.
- When the crisis occurs is not the time to start drafting a media statement or news release. Prepare some basic releases / statements in advance with fill-in-the-blank sections for the specifics of what is happening.
Don’t get caught off guard with an “it can’t happen here” attitude. That philosophy will only lead to negative results for your company when it does.