In this first blog of a three-part series, AB account manager Janice Fitzgerald looks at the importance of crisis comms and offers tips on how to get your IC team crisis ready
In a world driven by reactive, digital media, crisis planning is more important than ever. However, successful crisis management isn’t about prediction it’s about providing your organisation with the skills to communicate appropriately when things go wrong.
Has your organisation thought about its crisis communications plan? What’s more, has your internal communications team clarified its approach to delivering the plan? Here are some tips on how to get your IC team crisis ready.
Identify your in-house crisis team early
It’s really important to formalise your crisis support team, outlining its roles and responsibilities clearly. Often led by an IC function, a crisis support team should include cross functional representatives that can support communications activity and key decision making.
Who to include? Consider representatives that together can drive and align both internal and external messaging. Include people from marketing, HR, IT and facilities, as well as senior board members and company spokespeople.
Communicate the purpose: once your team is recruited, define its purpose and tell your organisation about it. Appointing a senior sponsor can be a good way to land this message.
Meet regularly: give your crisis team time by planning in regular, achievable meetings to support its members’ education and success.
Know your crisis process: agree and document the approach your team must take in the event of a crisis, making sure key representatives take ownership so they can lead when the time comes.
Have information and templates ready: do you have an up-to-date list of everyone you need to communicate to? Have you prepared any scenario based comms templates or statements? Simple preparation like this can really reduce time wasting in the event of a crisis.
Remote access and plan b: factor in a plan for when team members are out of office, including their cover. Where possible, make sure that the team has remote access to emails and network drives.
Media training and role play
Media monitoring: train your team to monitor the media, looking at scenarios that could impact both the organisation and sector you work in and understanding how other organisations deal with crisis.
Role play: invest your team’s time in an activity where it walks through its approach for a crisis scenario. For extra learning, why not divide the team into two so that each side can evaluate what went well and what was missed.
In the next part of our crisis comms focus, Janice talks through how to really utilise channels in managing crisis.