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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Communications 101: How to Create a Crisis Plan

When you work in communications you need to know how to act in a crisis situation. Whether you work in PR, the communications department of your company, or maybe have a business of your own. In a crisis situation a problem occurred that can severely damage the image of your organization or the trust of the product.

A crisis plan has the following guidelines:
  • it should be clear who the spokesperson is;
  • make sure the spokesperson is always available;
  • decide who the members of the crisis team are;
  • determine who're the most important internal and external audience groups;
  • decide on with which resource you can reach you target groups the best;
  • make address lists from internal stakeholders and press;
  • arrange an internal pressroom;
  • arrange an internal or external call center for questions;
  • make sure all e-mails will be answered quickly.

Tasks from PR or a communications officer during a crisis:
  • keep a diary/logbook from the start, so that it's clear who is doing what;
  • contact with the press: who is the spokesman, make a schedule when you'll have the press conference, collect all the news that will appear on the crisis;
  • contact with the callers: have a special number for the crisis situation, there should be an answer script from the start, all questions should be noted;
  • contact with the e-mailers: have people answer e-mail outside office hours, have a list ready with most common Q&A.

Make sure that, if you ever have a crisis situation, to evaluate the crisis and crisis plan your organization had. What went well? On which point could you improve?
After this, you can update the crisis plan.

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