According to PR Newswire, 63 percent of an organization’s market value is attributed to reputation – and a crisis is always a direct threat to reputation. The first 120 minutes of a crisis can determine the public’s perception of your company. As explained in the PR Crisis Bible, those that prepare for crises recover two-to-three times faster than those that don’t – and in some cases even enhance their reputation through the quality of their response. In the wake of the ever-changing response to COVID-19, we offer Five Reasons to Revisit Your Crisis Communication Plan.
1. Inventory Assets and Vulnerabilities
Everyone on the team should understand your organization’s greatest asset and vulnerability when it comes to issues and crisis response. Understanding these two components (and that they are in place) can help a team perform better under pressure when a crisis occurs.
2. Communication Protocols
Maintaining updated communication protocol sets your team up for a success. When a crisis situation arises, appropriate team leaders are quickly alerted of its potential impact. Ideally, your crisis communications team should include a small team of senior leadership led by the CEO. This team should also have the support of a legal advisor and a PR agency or expert.
3. Set Media Priorities
When in a crisis, the team should be aware of both the standing target audience as well as any other additional media priorities. A spokesperson from your team, ideally your PR expert or agency representative, should have the authority to speak on behalf of your company whether it be through verbal, written or digital communication.
4. Updated Collateral
Keeping collateral updated and effectively managing your stance on a crisis to your audience is important. You want to be able to readily print or disseminate materials to your audience the minute they walk through your door or visit your website.
5. Debrief with Team Post-crisis
Re-evaluate your post-crisis plan. The crisis communications team needs to debrief on what was done right, wrong and what needs to be improved. Having a post-crisis checklist in place as part of the crisis communication materials assures that all bases are covered.
We’ve all heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In issues and crisis management, that statement is very true. If we do not properly prepare for potential issues and crisis, we will fail. Today, where news travels in a matter of seconds, poorly managed issues and crises can leave long-term reputation and financial damages. It’s not a matter of if, but when, and where issues arise, we will be better prepared because we planned.