A Crisis Can Occur At Any Time
We are all at risk! No matter what industry you’re in or how careful you are, you are not immune to everyday threats that could cause a problem. While you cannot always prevent a crisis from occurring, you can be prepared for potential crises. Successful crisis management depends on your preparation and execution of your crisis communication plan.
Before you are able to execute your plan, you need to evaluate your business and your crisis potential. Once you create a clear picture of your business, potential crises and how you plan to respond, you will be able to develop and implement a prepared communications plan.
Evaluate Your Business Before A Crisis Occurs
- What Are Your Potential Crises?
Before you begin planning how you will communicate with your stakeholders, the public and the media, you need to understand what potential crises you may experience. Potential crises could involve a natural disaster, product recall, an unforeseen change in upper manager, or employee misconduct. Identifying potential difficulties will improve your crisis readiness and allow you to sculpt a communication plan that clearly and easily responds to whatever the future holds.
- What Crises Has Your Company Dealt With In The Past?
Before you are able to prepare for the future, you have to understand the foundation you are starting from. Look back on the company’s record and how it reacted to past crises. Analyze if past communication was successful and how it could be improved. If a past crisis was not managed well, identify what did not work. Depending on the company’s industry, audience(s) and its relationship with the media, you may need to adjust your approach.
- Do You Have Strong Relationships With Your Media Contacts?
When a crisis occurs you need to have media contacts who will help you communicate with your audience(s). Evaluate who you have the best relationships with and what media relationships you should improve. Strong media relations will allow you to execute your crisis communication plan smoothly and facilitate continued communication after the crisis.
- Who Is Included In Your Crisis Communications Team?
Successful execution of your communications plan depends on your crisis communication team. Choose team members who are comfortable communicating with media and who are well versed in the organization’s policies, happenings and procedures. The team should understand their roles and be ready to act as soon as a crisis occurs. Regular meetings may help the team routinely evaluate potential crises and identify changes that can improve the organization’s readiness.
- How Will You Communicate?
Before a crisis occurs, you must decide how you will communicate with employees, stakeholders and the general public. An effective crisis communication plan depends on your ability and readiness to communicate in a difficult situation. Utilizing a notification system to alert stakeholders of a crisis will allow you to successfully manage communications in a timely manner. Notification systems also allow you to reach stakeholders through several forms of communication, such as a phone call, text message and email. Also decide who you will contact in the media and what information you will share on your social media accounts.
Every business and organization is vulnerable to potential crises. Evaluating your company’s crisis preparedness with these 5 questions will help you identify where you should focus your crisis communication efforts and where you can improve.