However, just in case it does, it’s essential to have a robust plan in place which will protect your reputation.
11 points to factor into developing a crisis communications strategy
- If your incident involves the emergency services – say a chemical spill or a serious accident – the media are likely to be informed, whether or not you want them to be.
- Any incident which involves your customers may well appear on social media first – over which you’ll have little control.
- Consider how you will communicate with your key stakeholders – whether that be customers, suppliers, “victims” and their relatives, employees, emergency services, regulatory authorities, and indeed the media.
- Depending on your industry, it may be worth having a dark website ready to go live which will help to position you as the main source of information and demonstrate that you are taking control of the situation.
- You will need to align your main website and social media updates, and cancel any scheduled promotional posts.
- You need the capacity to expand your press office function with experienced press officers so you can cope with the additional volume of calls.
- When journalists call your offices they will be persistent. They will want to find out what is going on and will not accept being fobbed off. Your switchboard operators and press team should be skilled at controlling journalists without antagonising them.
- Members of the team need to be assigned to take responsibility for logging media inquiries and for monitoring coverage.
- Prepare holding statements ready to be released and a rapid but foolproof clearance procedure for statements and updates.
- It may be useful to have contingency plans in place to call press conferences quickly, as this may be the easiest way to deliver updates.
- Make sure you have credible, authoritative spokespeople who will be able to handle hostile interviews, get your messages across effectively and protect your reputation.
The Rough House team uses its decades of experience in how the media operate during a crisis and can help you with developing a crisis communications strategy which works. We have delivered hundreds of courses which equip senior spokespeople to take control of interview situations and PR teams to handle calls from the press. Contact us via our website to find out more or call on 020 8332 6200.