COMMUNICATING IN A CRISIS
“Recent crises in the news have us wondering: is our company prepared to handle an emergency to the best of our ability?”
Crisis can be anticipated, such as a hurricane, or unexpected, such as a sudden, unfortunate accident. Regardless, crises often happen when we least expect them and can be extremely challenging to address. Here are a few of essential steps to prevent crisis mismanagement and to retain the trust of and transparency with the people who mean the most to you:
- Pull together a crisis team and suite of communications toolsthat make roles, responsibilities and immediate actions explicit so you can address concerns quickly and strategically. Your team should include your company leadership, legal counsel, communications partner and security (if applicable). Your communications tools should include customizable statements for the media and direct messages to your stakeholders that follow the CAP rule.
- CAP: Concern, Action, Perspective. A thoughtful messaging plan is essential, especially during an emergency. All materials should follow the CAP rule and show genuine concern and sensitivity for those affected by the crisis, demonstrate immediate action to address any damage and provide perspective on the greater impact and implications of the situation.
- Refresh your company’s crisis communications planat least once a year. Be sure to update your emergency contact sheet, designate and train a company spokesperson and plan for potential crisis scenarios closely related your business. Think through what concerns your customers most and draft plans that manage those crises to the best of your ability and to the satisfaction of your audience. There’s no better way to maintain confidence in your company than by exceeding expectations. Proactive planning gives you the opportunity to do just that.