Crises are an inevitable part of running a business. And while you can’t control when they may happen, you can create an action plan for when they do happen.
Companies who manage a crisis well take calculated steps in advance to ensure they are prepared for a variety of possible scenarios. Below you’ll find a few steps your company can take now – yes now – to ensure you are ready when an issue arises.
Define Key Threats
It may seem useless, especially during the current state of the world, but the first and most critical step is to get your team together to brainstorm the company’s threats before they happen. You’ll want to be honest and list anything and everything that could possibly take place, even if it’s highly unlikely.
Could your company’s data be hacked? Food safety concerns? Recalls, natural disasters, product malfunctions or workplace misconduct? What threats would place your business most at risk?
Next, prioritize and rank your threats and begin drafting key messages. Knowing what you’ll say, how you’ll say it and where you share each message may be different depending on the crisis. Based on how many issues you believe there might be, this could take some time. Ensure your messages and channels are not only appropriate for your customers or audience but also for your stakeholders, employees and business partners.
When your drafting your messaging or statement be authentic and honest. Pull out any jargon or language specific to your industry and write copy that’s straightforward and to the point without leaving room for questions or different interpretations.
When possible, explain what happened, why it happened and what you’re doing to mitigate it. Be clear, thoughtful and as comprehensive as possible.
Assemble Key Players
Assign specific roles for your leadership team and decide who from the different departments should be in the room in each instance. Certain people – legal, operations, human recourses, marketing or IT – will need to be brought into the loop when each crisis develops. Define each person’s role and what the message will be so it’s consistent across all channels and between all departments.
Shape the Delivery
Now that you know what your issues are, who needs to be in the room to make decisions and what you want to say, you need to map out who will distribute the message and where it will live.
In some instances, it makes sense to have the statement come from a CEO or from the company itself through a media statement. Other times a Twitter post, edited video or an exclusive interview with a company representative is the best move. Each channel provides different opportunities ranging from having more control over the message to getting in front of your fans directly.
A well-handled crisis can provide an opportunity to change the narrative and propel your company forward as an authoritative leader. Getting ahead of possible issues and knowing what steps to take can help provide clarity during a chaotic time.
According to the Department of Commerce, 40% of all companies will not survive a crisis, and more than 60% close within two years of experiencing one.
At KWSM, our brand journalists specialize in multimedia press releases, online media placement, and influencer outreach. If your business could benefit from a boost in media coverage, we can help.
CONTACT US to schedule a complimentary brainstorming session to develop a crisis communications plan for your business today!