December 23, 2013
For PR professionals, it’s a familiar dilemma: You need to prepare a crisis communications plan, but you’re too busy putting out smaller, daily fires to focus on the bigger picture. When you’ve resolved to pull together a 2014 master plan, a blog post by CommCore Consulting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based specialty communications firm, suggests the following steps:
Rewrite your existing plan and store it in an accessible computer “cloud,” rather than in a three-ring binder. Re-assign your “red team,” the first responders to a crisis, since some people on your previous roster may no longer work at your company. Revise your list of key constituents and audiences to include social media, and update monitoring criteria to include social media alerts. When rewriting your crisis-communications plan, take the opportunity to update your key messages so they’ll survive a trip through the punishing rapids of social media.
Make a list of your 10 worst potential crises. Be honest about them. Hire someone to examine — and possibly to tear apart — your organization’s vulnerabilities and assumptions. Identify and reach out to advocacy groups, influencers and watchdogs. Test and re-test your crisis plan, filling any holes you find. — Greg Beaubien