Does Your Company Have An Up To Date Crisis Management Plan?

bald business man screaming in crisis at computer from pressure watching stocks crash
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, the Director at Bradshaw PR Belinda Hamilton specialising in crisis management and media relations for all companies big and small. Brisbane and Sydney based. Hamilton, draws on recent public relations blunders to explain why having a crisis management plan is crucial.

In the past few weeks, the news has been awash with stories that have shocked the nation – from the election turmoil in the US, to a company under fire after tragedy on an incomprehensible level. These events have forced companies to stop and reflect on how they would respond if faced with something similar – how they would manage an event that posed danger to the public, their external and internal stakeholders, and not to mention their brand (and share price).

14034980_540252526167438_7295230298561627603_n

From a public relations perspective and risk mitigation viewpoint, many industry professionals have watched, mystified, as companies struggled to communicate amidst the crisis and manage it publicly.

While there is no strategy that will ever fully reverse damage done, you can substantially mitigate its impact by being prepared and employing the following strategies, now:

1.  Rehearse, record and rate       

Always prepare for the worst case scenario. Sure, it sounds grim but it’s a non-negotiable. Set aside time with your team and brainstorm all major events that could potentially threaten your company. Whether it’s the leaking of confidential information, an unhappy client going to the media or a customer hurting themselves on your equipment, write down every possible crisis that could occur and then as a team decide the risk. Rate each as a high, medium or low-level of occurrence, then tackle the highest priorities first.

2. Invent an internal action plan and establish a crisis management group                          Before you start thinking about external communications, it’s essential that you get your house in order. This is a common mistake companies make. They speak externally on the issue before having their ducks in a row. Identify a key group of internal decision makers who will meet upon a crisis breaking. Your CEO and PR Manager (or PR agency representative) should be there, as well as a call centre or customer service senior manager, even a Board member is a good idea.

Then, write down the chain of command – who needs to tell who. Remember it’s often those internal stakeholders on the front line who will find out first. For example, a call centre operator or a media advisor in your team may get a call before others in senior management are made aware of the problem. Prepare an internal communications briefing flowchart which clearly stipulates who needs to tell who, how and when (immediately).

In these situations, it’s always best to talk in person or on the phone first wherever possible. It’s also a good idea to include tiers of communication – group your internal stakeholders (e.g. Executive team, General Manager’s etc) and then based on the crisis, anticipate how far down you want the information to flow. In our experience, it’s always best to tell the whole company so everyone is engaged and armed with the messages they need.

3.  Craft key messages and media lines                                                                       

Once you’ve anticipated the worst possible scenarios facing your company and how you will communicate them internally, think about what messages will be given to the external stakeholders and public. It’s helpful to have two key messages for each disaster recorded. That is, what are the main points you need to get across to the media or in any communications to your clients? Will the most important key messages be about ensuring safety and the reiteration of your policies and processes?

Once you have worked out the key positioning points, write down the reactive few lines or statement that you would deliver to the media if the crisis were to occur. Of course it will depend on the questions and the media outlet, but try to have one general media statement written and approved by the key crisis communications team.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart
  • Media

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart

Zenith Sydney's Karen Halligan has pulled-up stumps, although that's not to infer bad light had anything to do with it.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands

PR agency Hotwire has rebranded, yet sadly not to "Hot Cocks Who Rock Your Socks Off". Which would've been far cooler.

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia
  • Advertising

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia

After a competitive pitching process involving five agencies, Torrens University Australia has appointed challenger agency VCCP as its new brand strategy partner and creative agency for 2018. Acclaimed for its work on dynamic brands including ING and Compare the Market in the financial services sector, Laureate Australia CMO Anne Da Cunha said VCCP’s reputation as […]

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director
  • Advertising
  • Technology

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director

AI advertising company GumGum has announced the appointment of Sarah Baskerville as its sales director for Victoria. Baskerville joins GumGum from Ansible, where she spent two years as its Melbourne mobile director. Prior to joining Ansible, she was head of specialist sales and partnerships at News Corp Australia, and also held a number of sales […]

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland

McCann Queensland’s second instalment of ‘The 5th C’ campaign launched over the weekend for online diamond retailer The Diamond Concierge, which received over 47million views around the world in the first 48 hours of it being released. In this second phase of the campaign, The Diamond Concierge gave away an $85,000 diamond ring, with Gold […]

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins
  • Marketing

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins

Digital marketing agency Sparro has announced the appointment of Hannah Jones (pictured above) as a key account director following a spate of client wins. Jones joins Sparro’s senior team alongside founders Cameron and Morris Bryant, overseeing a portfolio of accounts that includes Webjet, Domino’s Pizza, TAFE NSW, Temple & Webster, F45 Training and Bing Lee. […]

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry
  • Media

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry

In an industry facing change, Jacqui Mooney, editor of Women’s Health believes brands such as hers will continue to be a constant. Please note: this article was contributed by Magazine Networks. The magazine industry may be seeing substantial change but Jacqui Mooney has a goal that remains firm: to create happier, healthier lives for Australian women. […]

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums

Is your game chainsaws or large marlin wall-hangings? Can't seem to attract the mums? This couldn't come soon enough.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal
  • Media

Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal

It seems the fight for Ten between CBS and media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon may finally be over.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice
  • Marketing
  • Media

MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice

MKTG has announced it has signed an exclusive commercial partnership with newly-launched sports storytelling site PlayersVoice.com.au – an agreement that will see the agency move into a new territory of sports marketing. The partnership between MKTG and PlayersVoice will see the business managing brand partnership opportunities for the new platform; working with clients to deliver […]

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution

Domo has announced it has introduced new cloud security technology for its Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) software, which includes unique capabilities like rolling generation of data encryption keys and a built-in kill switch. Domo BYOK is the first BYOK enterprise software solution for cloud analytics and business intelligence, and builds on the company’s existing security, compliance and […]

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams

Shopper Media Group (SMG) has continued to grow its Sydney and Melbourne sales teams to keep up with the demand for Smartlite Panels for shopping centres. Ashley Munro joins SMG as group sales manager for Sydney, having previously worked in a similar role at NOVA Entertainment. Laura Mason has been appointed as SMG’s business manager […]

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
  • Advertising
  • Media

Olympics, Census Prove Tough Hurdles For Media Agencies: SMI

Australia’s media agency market has experienced another tough month in August, according to the latest data by Standard Media Index (SMI). SMI noted the softer demand this time around was primarily due to the Rio Olympics and Census providing abnormal bookings last year, resulting in demand for August 2017 so far being back 12.1 per […]