Everyone accepts that crises will happen; it’s how you deal with them that people remember. A good PR team or external agency will be able to sense-check issues and decisions that could escalate into a crisis comms situation and, therefore, plan ahead and mitigate the repercussions.
Our advice? Prepare, prepare, prepare!
A major media crisis potentially only hits you once in your lifetime – if you’re lucky, or rather unlucky! If you’re not used to it, it can be very unnerving.
So, the more prepared you are, the better. Here are our top considerations for preparing for a crisis comms disaster:
- Take time to chat with colleagues about potential scenarios that could lead to a crisis and, in turn, lead to negative attention on your organisation. You will know the scenarios which could unfold in your business. Prepare draft statements for each possibility.
- Compile a list of key data – emails and phone numbers of central personnel in the firm, plus stakeholders who might need to be informed of the crisis including the media. Ensure your list also incorporates log-in details to social media accounts and the company website.
- Agree a spokesperson. If it is a major breach, the CEO needs to be the front person, and ideally, they will have received some media training well in advance. If not the CEO, prepare a deputy.
- Pre-agree a gatekeeper or two where all media enquiries are directed to. This includes briefing all staff, especially those who answer the phones, to direct all such enquiries to those people.
If a crisis occurs, here are some key points to consider:
- Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – If you inadvertently issue something which proves to be false, correct it as soon as you can.
- Be open and transparent, it is more likely the crisis comms will subside quicker. Never say no comment because that can make you sound evasive and uncaring.
- Monitor social media from the outset and consider issuing and posting a short holding statement on all channels saying you are aware of a potential incident, and you are investigating. This is a good holding position and buys you some time. Do not feel bounced into issuing constant statements.
- Review – Once the dust has settled, review how you did – what could you do better, what gaps emerged, what did you do well? Adapt your crisis comms protocol accordingly.
If you need support to put preparations in place for your crisis comms, get in touch. At Effective, we help businesses prepare and protect with our reputation protection package – click here to find out more.