Public relations has two sides – the promotional side and the protective side. Each plays an important role in building and maintaining a company’s public reputation. One of the most important elements of the protective side of public relations is crisis management. You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Well it couldn’t be truer when it comes to crisis management planning and preparation.
The first step is to build a crisis management team. Crisis managers are more than just the public relations staff. The make-up of a crisis management team will vary depending on the size of the company, the nature of the industry and a company’s market-share, among other variables. For example, companies should add individuals with decision-making authority over operations, human resources and customer relations, in addition to the internal or external public relations practitioners so that all aspects of the business are considered throughout the progression of the crisis.
With a team in place, the next step is to build a plan. Strategic crisis management begins with a thorough crisis communication plan and the following is a good place to start: make a list of any and all “crises” that could interrupt normal business operations. From natural disasters to product recalls and everything in between, understanding the scenarios that could negatively impact the company’s ability to operate should be addressed in the plan.
Once the relevant scenarios have been defined, action steps should be outlined that address each scenario. Included in these action steps should be a list of sample messaging crafted with specific relevant audiences in mind and customized to the specific scenario. Having a template of messages available when an actual crisis occurs can save time and effort on behalf of the crisis management team, which will ultimately reflect positively on the company after the crisis passes.
A thorough crisis management plan is a valuable tool that, in a perfect world, a company never needs to use. But by taking the time to understand the potential crises that can negatively impact a business, companies set themselves up to weather an unexpected storm that much better in the future.
TRINDGROUP has experience with crisis management for B2B and B2B2C clients across many industries. Get in touch to learn how a crisis management plan could save your business.