One of the hardest tasks of a communications team is to create a strong crisis management plan. This is because the risks can be quite high and it’s not easy to create a detailed plan without knowing what the team should be planning for. Additionally, those high risks can include anything from damage to the company’s reputation to loss of life.
With all those challenges, it’s a lot easier for communications teams to prepare very lightly instead of detailing everything out until a situation happens when the team has to handle an event. However, if communications teams and PR professionals have learned anything during the past few years filled with various crises, it’s the fact that leaving the planning last minute is one of the worst things that they can do.
First of all, as with many other things, the first step towards improving the situation is for the company to acknowledge the event that it’s facing. If the distributed information is high stakes for the company, it should be distributed to multiple channels and outlets, with the first ones being the ones that are most likely to be seen by the public and the audience.
Many times, when a crisis happens, the communications channels get overwhelmed with information – and it’s not always about the quantity, as sometimes the quality of information can also be problematic. During these times, it’s easy for key people in the crisis not to be able to find truthful pieces of information from the crowd.
To avoid such things from happening, it helps when the communications team thinks about how the right people will get information in advance. With the right technology, companies can create internal dashboards where all the relevant people can monitor and report on the situation with truthful information at hand.
On the other hand, there are also instances of too little information, which can, once again, be handled with the right technology in place long before a crisis occurs for the company. This allows information to flow to the right people at the right time, at the click of a button.
There is no use for an internal dashboard if it doesn’t have the key contact information where the stakeholders and other key people can receive that information. Having an accessible and up-to-date contact list in a digital format, that’s consistently reviewed to make sure all the necessary info is available is key for crisis situations, which is something that’s also easily overlooked many times.
Sending out the right message at the right time during a crisis is key, but another key element is knowing what happens after that message is sent out into the world. Unfortunately, plenty of companies don’t have the technology in place to monitor whether these key messages are being received, or even read in the first place.
With time being of the essence during a PR crisis, it’s crucial that companies have all the necessary tools in place and in use, to overcome these common challenges that are easily solved.