Like any trauma, a business crisis can leave employees overwhelmed and paralysed, unable to make effective decisions in the moment. This is why it’s so important to create a Crisis Communication Frameworkbefore the crisis occurs. You can start this process is by compiling a dedicated team to agree on the communication process. Here’s how…
Step 1: Gather Your Team
Start by bringing a small group of executives together for your crisis communications team. This should include:
Your company CEO or MD
Your PR or communications executive (or your outsourced agency / consultant)
Your legal counsel
The heads of your major divisions
Any critical subject-matter experts
Step 2: Anticipate & Plan for Crises
Once you’ve identified your Crisis Communication Team, bring everyone together to define what a crisis is for your business and brainstorm the kinds of crises it’s most likely to experience. Then see what documents and other support tools you have on hand already. This has at least two immediate benefits:
You may find that some crises can be avoided just by making a few adjustments to your operations.
You can start thinking about best-case scenarios, worst-case scenarios, and potential responses.
Step 3: Identify & Train Spokespeople
Only authorised team members should be permitted to speak for the company. These members should be pre-screened and trained to communicate publicly under strenuous and potentially hostile circumstances.
You can also train people to be spokespeople for certain degrees of crises or for certain departments or subjects. This lessens the load on any one spokesperson and ensures that a reputable person is available to address the situation no matter what arises.
Beyond this, Cristina Roman, a content marketer and social media strategist, says you may want to compile a Q&A document for other representatives, like call centre agents and social media managers to use.
These three steps will help you respond quicker and more effectively the next time your company faces a crisis. Get all ten steps for creating a crisis communication framework in our e-book Crisis Communication 101: COVID-19 Edition.