Crisis Preparedness: Will you be ready?
[Jas’ note: I’m happy to welcome Samantha Dickson to the blog with a timely guest post.]
A quick glance at the headlines of any newspaper will tell a company that they should always expect the unexpected. Yet still, companies fail to realize the importance of preparation. I’m referring specifically to crisis management.
As PR professionals, we recognize our role within a company. We also see the value of our position when we are prepared for a crisis before it even strikes. So what happens when this forward thinking isn’t present? Negative brand reputation, drops in stock price, and loss of investor trust, just to name a few.
With such negative impacts on a company, it’s hard to imagine that some CEOs will still assume “Oh, that will never happen.” Sadly, it can, it will and when it does, you better be prepared. This is where the public relations role, and corporate communication position is of extreme value within a company.
Outline company threats.
In order to be prepared, a company needs to begin to analyze potential areas where a threat could arise. It is extremely important to understand your industry and what could be a problem for your company or client.
Taking the threats that you’ve outlined above, the next stage would be to strategically plan how to deal with the crisis. This might include identifying your stakeholders, potential solutions, and how to work on brand recovery once the peak of the crisis is over.
Develop pre-crisis communication material.
It is imperative to have audience messages and material ready to be disseminated. If you can identify a large threat that will impact your company or client, develop some material that can be tweaked should the crisis occur. It is better to have something prepared than nothing at all. This might be the shell of a press release, a prepared tweet if it’s social media related, or a letter from the CEO. If you have this material in advance, you’re able to act more quickly in the moment of the crisis.
The brands that are able to recover from a crisis are the ones that have a plan in place. The key takeaway is to do your research. If a crisis does occur, take the time to do a post-analysis on implementation and effectiveness. It is important to see what worked, what didn’t and ways to improve in the future.
Samantha Dickson recently graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON with a B.A. in Political Science. She is currently a graduate student at New York University in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. In her spare time, Samantha writes for her blog One Heel Ahead, provides freelance communication services and loves to travel.
Posted on April 1, 2014, in Guest Blog, Public Relations and tagged brand reputation, communication, company threats, corporate communication, crisis communications, crisis management, crisis planning, NYU, pre-crisis communications, Queen's University, samantha dickson, SWOT. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.