Crisis can strike a company at any moment, making it imperative to have a crisis management plan in place before disaster hits. By planning in advanced, you can help reduce impact and protect your company and its assets – including employees, customers, and of course, your business’s reputation and value. Here are five steps to developing a crisis management plan:
- Identify Your Objectives
Your objectives will vary depending on the nature of the crisis but a general set of objectives is vital to developing a plan. These general objectives that apply to any crisis include protecting employees, customers, and the public; ensuring audiences are kept informed; and protecting the organization to the best of your ability.
- Choose a Spokesperson
Whether someone within the company has released the wrong statement, needs to recall a product, or are the victim of a cyberattack, the need to communicate is immediate. To prepare, it’s important to identify a key spokesperson for external communications. The external communications spokesperson will be responsible for delivering a clear, consistent message and be prepared to answer media questions and participate in interviews. Oftentimes, it’s best to hire crisis management experts to handle external communications.
- Keep Employees Informed
Along with identifying an external spokesperson, you must also choose an internal spokesperson. The internal spokesperson will be accountable for responding internally to employees. By keeping employees informed, you can ensure your business continues to run smoothly and minimize internal rumor.
- Update Early and Often
It is better to over-communicate than provide an opportunity for misinformation to spread during the void between when the crisis occurs and the release of a statement. Because we live in a digital, 24/7 news cycle, it’s vital to your plan to issue summary statements with updated actions plans and any new developments as early and often as possible.
- Be Transparent
A lack of honesty and transparency tends to generate even more negative media coverage. To reduce misinformation and diffuse the situation, be as open as possible across all channels, including public statements, interviews, and social media.
By creating a crisis management plan in advanced, everyone involved has the chance to think clearly and time to consider the best ways to manage various types of crises. As you develop your crisis management plan, seek advice from the experts. Public Strategies Impact (PSI) helps clients develop crisis plans and handles media training, key audience identification, on-site communications, and ongoing message management. If needed, we will also intervene with the media and handle calls on your behalf or train your staff to do so. Learn more about our public affairs services here.