(Guest post by Chad Van De Wiele, Intern)
According to the Department of Commerce, 40 percent of businesses that face a crisis will not survive it.
One way to plan ahead is by developing a crisis communication strategy, which can:
- Prevent career-altering situations
- Reduce damage to your company’s image
- Increase recovery time from crisis-related damages
- Decrease potential exposure to legal concerns
- Curb your company’s risk of irreparable crises
- Lower your insurance rates
- Boost management credibility
- Avoid unwanted criticism
Here are seven tips to help you and your team plan ahead:
- Expect Repetition – History has a habit of repeating itself, and for that reason, you should always be prepared to face an issue your company has already faced within the past 10 years.
- Prepare for “What Ifs” – If you can identify an area of your business that currently needs improving, prevent disaster by preparing for the “what ifs” that may arise.
- Watch Your Messages – Consider that everything you and your company say – online and offline – will be viewed by the public, because today, it can be.
- Be Accessible – Whether or not you’re undergoing a crisis, it’s important to be as accessible as possible. Some examples: easy-to-use corporate website, social media pages and public speaking engagements. During a crisis, this availability will boost public and media loyalty.
- Bonus: Invest in an emergency message landing page for your corporate website. Activate during a crisis situation and voila
- Assemble a Team – Identify a team of individuals to take charge of communication during a crisis, and share this information with your staff. Answer the questions: Who needs to be alerted when a crisis occurs? What methods of communication do you have available? Keep this information up-to-date.
- Continue Training – Practice makes perfect. Update your team’s media training to increase preparedness for responding to media. The ability to deliver a good interview will bolster your company’s reputation and ensure credible media coverage.
- Be Legally Proactive – Have your legal department approve action documents ahead of time to ensure timely decision-making during a crisis. These documents include crisis communication plans, key messages and prepared statements.
For more crisis communication tips, refer to our tipsheet: Crisis Communication – Preparing for Bad News.