The Crisis is Coming

27 01 2014

(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.

Those that survived are either lucky or prepared. Considering most companies are defined by their positive reputation and brand image, do you want your company’s fate to depend upon luck?CV FB

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 MessagesConsider that everything you and your company say – online and offline – will be viewed by the public, because today, it can be.
  • Be AccessibleWhether 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 TeamIdentify 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 TrainingPractice 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 ProactiveHave 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.


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