Not having a crisis communication plan is like not having a flashlight when the lights go out. Not having an up-to-date crisis communication plan is like reaching for a flashlight when the lights go out and discovering the batteries are dead.
Fumbling in the dark wastes precious time. And time can cost your organization lost sales and damage your brand reputation.
Burying your head in the sand is not a crisis communication strategy. You need a well-prepared and up-to-date plan.
A Well-Prepared Plan
In the rush and panic of a crisis, it’s hard to think clearly. That’s when a well-prepared crisis communication plan can really help you. Ideally, your plan was created when you were calm, cool and collected and had lots of time to think things through.
Write key messages, prepare templates and scripts, define roles and responsibilities, determine key contacts, assemble supplies, and locate meeting space.
Preparing a plan in advance also gives you time to have your corporate attorneys and your senior leadership team sign off on key messaging and your response plan. The review process will go much more smoothly than in the midst of a crisis and having your plan approved in advance will save you hours of time when a crisis does occur.
An Up-to-Date Plan
Many crisis communication plans were developed years ago, often by people who are no longer with your company. Names are outdated, phone numbers have changed, and some procedures no longer make sense.
What’s more, some plans were developed when social media wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Many plans don’t contain a social media policy for employees or a plan to deal with negative social media from key influencers.
Remember that virtually every employee in your company and every customer who comes to your business has the ability to broadcast live video to the world via a smartphone.
Your plan needs to be ready for the Digital Age.
No one wants a crisis to occur but when it does, and your organization is really counting on you, won’t it be nice to know that you can be at your best?
Take the crisis out of crisis communication. Have a plan. Be prepared. Be a hero.