Get a plan in place BEFORE the crisis happens

5 PR lessons from the Kony PR campaign

The link above is well worth a read for any organisation – public or private sector, large or small.

This is some good advice to help any organisation deal with possible negative PR or a backlash to any pro-active PR it is trying to undertake.

 

The lesson is to have a crisis communications plan in place AS well as a pro-active communications plan or in fact as part of your PR campaign.

It’s rare, however, in my experience, that companies, particularly SMEs, have both a marketing or PR campaign and a crisis communications plan.

Most don’t usually have either.

The ramifications, however, of a damage to a company’s reputation can be dramatic – from  turning customers away, to putting off future employees, and even discouraging investors.

It can often lead to the beginning of the end for the company.

A crisis communications plan helps people to respond more calmly in what can be a highly stressful time.

It can also help people to respond more clearly and avoid them ‘losing their heads’ in a crisis and saying or doing something to exacerbate the situation.

A good crisis communications plan should also clearly delegate the likely roles to different people in an organisation.

For example, who is going to approve statements to the press?

Who is going to draft them?

Does the organisation have the mobile telephone or home telephone numbers of key personnel likely to be involved in a response to a crisis?

Can you easily set up space within your office to respond to a crisis?

Likewise, other questions like ‘what happens if the MD is sat on a beach 3,000 miles away when the factory blows up?’ need to be answered following lots of scenario planning.

Who is second in command or next best placed to front the organisation?

As part of the decision to whom a task is delegated consideration should be given to any appropriate training needs.

We could all see that Tony Hayward was not the right man to front BP in media interviews following the Gulf of Mexico leak in 2010.

 

For example, does the CEO or MD need some media training to handle radio or television interviews?

If the latter is lacking in confidence or does not naturally present well it may be worthwhile identifying other senior members of the organisation to front any broadcast media interviews.

There’s a lot more to developing a good crisis communications plan but it should form the bulk of any disaster recovery plan that all organisations should take the time to put in place.


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