Crisis Communication Planning: Organizing and Completing
A Plan That Works
Why You Need A Crisis Communications Plan
Whether big or small, no organization should be without a crisis communications plan.
Crises happen all of the time: it could be a fire, it could be a robbery, it could be a high-profile sexual harassment case, or it could be a major safety issue with one of your products. Whatever it is, it’s highly likely that some kind of crisis is going to hit your company sometime in the next couple of years.
There are many aspects to being prepared for a crisis, many of which, frankly, are not worth preparing for in advance, either because of their low probability of occurrence (alien abduction of your entire management team), or the fact that many crises require more real-time attention that a crisis plan simply can’t prepare for in advance.
But almost all crises have a consistent element, which you can, and we believe, must plan for in advance – how your company will communicate with the media during and after the crisis.
Why? Because how well your company manages the media during a crisis could determine your whether your company gets hurt, or even sometimes, grows as a result. Many companies who do not handle these issues suffer the ultimate fate – the death or reorganization of the company.
Think about the rash of recent corporate scandals – Worldcom, Enron, Martha Stewart… and how those company’s bottom lines have been affected.
And while you’re at it, think of the ultimate example of excellent crisis management – the original poisoned Tylenol case, where J&J came out more strongly positioned with the public than they were before the crisis happened.
Another great example of how excellent crisis management can build, rather than destroy is the success that former New York Mayor Rudi Giulaini has enjoyed since his excellent handling of the press (and many other factors) during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Much of this success came as a result of their relationships with the press during the disaster.
The Two Elements of a Crisis Plan
There are two key elements of any crisis plan:
- The crisis plan itself (how your company will deal with the issue at hand, to minimize loss and downtime.)
- The crisis communications plan (how you will communicate with the press and the public about the crisis that is occurring.)
Many companies prepare one without the other. Unfortunately, both are vitally important.
Keep in mind that most company crises never get reported in the press. Sometimes that happens because the story was not newsworthy, but oftentimes is happens because the company handled the situation skillfully enough that it never became visible to the press.
Other times, a crisis may be significant enough that it is both newsworthy and gets attention in the press. But that attention either lasts for a very short period of time, or it is so well handled that the company grows as people see how well they handled the crisis.
A key element in making sure that this happens is the development of a crisis communication plan in your organization.
Even if you don’t elect to create a crisis plan (not recommended, but most companies don’t have one), it is vitally important that you put together a plan to effectively communicate with the press and the public when the inevitable crisis occurs.
In other words, an effective crisis communications plan may be the most important part of your crisis planning process.
You May Also Want To Investigate:
This report is designed to help you create a plan that works.
Here is a list of crises that could happen that could be a viable part of a crisis plan:
- Government investigation
- Controversial law suit
- Accusation of discrimination based on race, sexual preference or gender
- Product recall
- Serious injury to someone within or outside of the organization
- Physical violence between co-workers
- Insider trading scandal
- Theft by an outsider (ideas or physical assets)
- Hostile takeover
- Outbreak of food poisoning caused by your company (maybe even at your company picnic – this just happened this week in our area and the Country Club where it occurred is getting hurt in the media)
- Death of top executive
- CEO gets arrested for drunk driving
- Natural disaster
- Plane crash
- Books were cooked
- Congressional hearings make something that was legal illegal, and your company is used as an example
- Plummeting stock price
- Major interruptions in service
- Computer system crash, causing you to lose all data
- One of your employees is accused of a high profile crime
- Sexual harassment case
- Rape on your premises
- Dramatic downsizing causing significant job loss in a geographic region
- Chemical spill
- Radiation leak
- A major competitor has a huge crisis, throwing attention on your company
- Caught in a lie
- False advertising accusation
- Celebrity spokesperson embroiled in personal scandal
- Oil spill
- Closing of a facility
- Production sourcing internationally or at a non-union facility
- Union grievance
- And, of course, alien abduction of your entire management team (it has occasionally occurred to me that this might be a good thing…)
Want to know more?
Download: Crisis Communication Planning:
Organizing and Completing A Plan That Works for only $37
This step-by-step training manual takes you through each of the steps involved with creating a crisis communications plan that works. In it you’ll learn:
- Why you need a crisis communications plan
- How it differs from a crisis plan
- How to identify crises likely to hit your company
- How to sell the process to management
- What should be in your plan
- How to organize, store and communicate your plan within your organization
- Exactly what you should have prepared in advance, ready to hand to the media when the crisis occurs.
- And much more!
Order your downloadable copy now and get started with your plan this afternoon!