Preparing for the Worst – Are You Ready for a Crisis?

by Cheryl Carr on October 4, 2010

By Katie Essner

“In case of emergency…”

How common these four words are, but how seldom we stop to think about their importance. On behalf of your company, you should confidently be able to say, “In case of emergency… we will activate our dark webpage, use the three prepared statements and refer to our list of chosen speakers, etc.” But how many of us have instead thought, “We’ll deal with that problem when we get there.” Or, “Our crisis plan from 2000 is still relevant to the company.” If this is you, it’s time to put on your headgear and get in crisis mode.

If there’s one thing businesses learned in 2010 it’s the importance of having a crisis communication plan, or an updated one.  We’ve blogged about ways to manage crisis in the social media age, but let’s go back to step one. Do you have a crisis communications plan? If so, when was it created? Do you need an update?

Make it your fourth quarter goal to review or create your crisis communications plan. Answering these questions will help ensure your reputation.

  1. Who are your designated speakers in case of a crisis?
  2. What are some possible scenarios that might affect your company? (natural disasters, lawsuits, etc.)
  3. What publics will need to be informed in case of each crisis?
  4. What are three consistent messages you will convey to your publics?
  5. How will you communicate with each public? (newsletter, e-mail, phone call, etc.)
  6. Is there a dark webpage ready to activate?
  7. How will you use social media? Who will be responsible for posts?
  8. Who will monitor coverage during and after the crisis?

Remember – companies are more vulnerable now than ever to a crisis. Social media gives the world a platform to voice their thoughts and opinions, so bad news travels even faster than before. If large corporations like BP and Toyota took a big hit during times of crisis, what would a crisis do to your company? If you’d like more help on creating or updating your crisis communications plan, feel free to contact us.