Why are Crisis Communication Plans Essential for Your Business?
In this case, ignorance is definitely not bliss, but preparation and foresight can be lifesavers. Read on to learn why a crisis management plan isn’t a luxury but a necessity.
What Qualifies as a Business Crisis?
By definition, a “crisis” is a time of instability marked by a real or potential disaster. A business crisis can result from a devastating natural disaster like a fire, earthquake, hurricane or tornado. It also can result from human ineptitude and poor choices that ultimately jeopardise a company’s reputation and bottom line. A business you want to protect from crises (natural or man-made) needs to devise a detailed crisis management plan before such a plan needs to be set into motion. Preparation and a lightning-quick sincere response in the face of trying times can mean the difference between a business succumbing to adversity or growing in spite of it.
Key Steps to Avert a Pending Business Crisis
If your business does not currently have crisis communication plans in place, you need to secure them sooner rather than later. Here are some factors to keep in mind when drafting such plans.
- Identify and train the “face” of your crisis response. When lightning strikes, you’ve got limited time to jump into action. The same holds true of crisis mitigation. At the point of impact, there’s not time to identify and train who within your organisation will be your spokespeople. This key decision should be made before your crises spokespersons are called on to perform.
- Create and publicise your internal crisis communication plan before it’s needed. In the event of a fire or natural disaster, it will be imperative to reach key employees and stakeholders and mitigate damage and resume normal operation as quickly as possible. Every business is different. If you operate a factory that runs 24/7, make sure crisis communication plans specify offsite staging areas where employees can go to be accounted for and receive assistance. Make sure your crisis response team has and maintains an up-to-date list of all stakeholders’ phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and social media handles to expedite information sharing.
- Be prepared with “holding statements.” Much is said about the “fog of war.” The atmosphere after a business crisis is equally confusing. Companies can buy time by being prepared to meet the press with statements that are appropriate but vague until there’s time to size up what’s happening and be more specific. “Our hearts and minds are with the families,” and “We’ve implemented our crisis plan, which is designed with the utmost priority on our staff and customers,” are examples.
Most every business inevitably faces a crisis of some degree. If you want to be proactive and plan for the inevitable, find a trusted PR company in your area that specialises in crisis management who can help.