Avoiding a fire: Why your company needs a crisis communication plan

The phrase “if you’re five minutes early, you’re already 10 minutes late” holds true in any crisis communication situation your company may face. Crises can range from natural disasters to threats against your company to personnel issues to negative comments circulating in the media or by word of mouth. Your leadership team should be proactive in establishing strategies and protocols now for these potential scenarios – not in a reactive effort when a situation arises. Here are just a few examples of how a well-thought-out crisis communication plan can help you deal with a crisis the right way.  

Form a general crisis checklist 

In the wake of a crisis, you want to avoid having your team run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Every situation is different, but preparing a general checklist of what needs to be done when a crisis hits will help keep things orderly and efficient. 

For example, before dealing with internal and external communication, leadership should do what needs to be done operationally to ensure all stakeholders remain safe. From there, leadership should ask essential questions to gather all necessary details before drafting communication. What occurred and where? Who was involved? What was the timeline of events? Once all information is gathered, leadership can determine who should write the communication, what details should be shared and how it should be distributed. 

Establish a crisis leadership team 

It’s important that team members are readily aware of their role when communicating internally and externally. Who leads the crisis team meetings? Who drafts the statements? Who relays information to board members? Who fields internal and external inquiries? Appoint your team well in advance so everyone can jump into and champion their role quickly once a crisis hits. 

Solidify a media policy 

Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, it’s very likely you’ll hear from the media, asking for an interview or a statement. When you hear from media, you have to act quickly, but you also have to act strategically. Careful preparation beforehand will help you effectively manage media inquiries in the moment. Talking to news media is your only chance to control the story – if you don’t, it’s probable someone else will. 

Much crisis work can be done proactively, easing tensions and allowing for better responses when a crisis actually occurs. Let Obsidian’s crisis management team help your company communicate with key stakeholders and protect one of your company’s most precious assets – its reputation. We’re just one phone call away!