Almost every business will be affected by a crisis at some point. It could be a social media storm, a logistics failures or new legislation – but essentially a crisis is something that could damage either the operation or reputation of your business.
But there’s no reason to panic! As a PR agency we understand that staying calm in the midst of a crisis is essential, no matter how chaotic the situation may be. And, there are some easy crisis management steps you can put in place to ensure you’re ready should a crisis occur.
The first step when putting a crisis management plan together is to think about any of the risks that could affect your organisation. By planning ahead and considering all possible scenarios, you can then think about the measures you can put in place to either prevent or manage each of the situations.
Our top tip would be to go one step further and give each of the scenarios a rating based on:
- The chance that they will happen
- What they would do to your business
- The impact on how your business is perceived by its stakeholders
This will then create the basis of your crisis management plan.
Now it’s time to create a crisis management plan. You need to be able to create a team from across your organisation who can be easily pulled together in a crisis. Your plan then needs to break down who, when and how you share information. This will mean that everyone is clear on their role and what to do.
The key piece of the puzzle is to draft some short stock messages to respond to media, customers and your employees on the things you consider to be a risk. And finally, test your plan to find out what works and iron out the kinks before a crisis potentially occurs.
Engage your stakeholders
A key component of every crisis management plan needs to be – how to keep your stakeholders informed during a crisis. This can be any one from an individual to a group of people who have a stake in your business or can impact your ability to operate.
When a crisis breaks, the first instinct is to engage the media to make sure that you frame the conversation, but don’t forget about your stakeholders. They too will be clamouring to find out what is going on. You need to decide, based on their influence and interest, who you focus your efforts on. The best thing to do is to map them out during a quiet spell.
And finally, often overlooked in this process are some of the main supporters of your business – your employees. They can often be a company’s staunchest defenders, fighting your corner at work, to friends and family or online. But they need to know what is going on and align with what you are saying publicly.
A crisis can spring from nowhere and rapidly sap resources to deal with the resultant media and customer service queries. However, by putting in place a crisis management plan, identifying your key stakeholders and building effective relationships with them, you can offset the long-term impact of a crisis and the work needed to rebuild trust in your organisation.
Through a wealth of experience, the spottydog team can help you to craft your own crisis management plan, help you put it to the test and make sure you are prepared in case a crisis ever occurs – get in touch today to find out more.