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Tips: How to Manage a Crisis

Smart companies have crisis plans for when – not if – an incident occurs that disrupts business or damages their brand reputation. However, in today’s fast-paced, social media-dominated world, these plans need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to keep pace with an ever-growing set of potential threats: unsubstantiated damaging rumors, cyberattacks and data breaches, natural disasters, and unethical executive behavior to name a few.tips2017

As crisis communication experts, CommCore counsels clients to have a flexible plan in place that includes internal and external communications, as well as, incident response and business continuity contingencies. Here are a few strategic steps for your crisis plans:

  1. Crystal Ball: Keep an eye out for warning signs.
    1. Negative news coverage
    2. Constant corporate shifts
    3. Regulatory legal investigations
    4. Industry-wide issues
    5. Whistleblowers
    6. Cyber threats/attacks
  1. Be fast and flexible…but also factual: Have holding statements, a “war room,” and a “dark” website ready immediately for a range of contingencies. But, then take a step back to assess the situation (and gather as much information as possible).
    1. Is it an emergency that’s containable, or crisis that’s not? Is it over or is there more to come?
    2. Are there victims and what can we do for them? Express believable concern, and follow through.
    3. Communicate internally as well as externally; restless employees and families can be a source of help, or a problem.
    4. Do you need external resources?
    5. What’s the timeline for next steps to take? Where do you want to be in a day, a week, a month or more?
    6. What’s at stake short and long-term, and what are the brand reputation implications?
  1. Assessment: It’s important to benchmark the steps you took to determine what in your crisis planning and response worked well, and what needs to be improved.
    1. Did you achieve the best possible outcome?
    2. How effective were the channels of communication you used?
    3. Did you have the right people on the crisis team?
    4. How well did your core messages resonate with your target audiences?
    5. Did you manage to repair and restore your organization‘s reputation?