Building a Crisis Communications Plan

Crisis Planning

Every company should have a crisis communications plan. 

Organizations should be ready to address and minimize the impact of potential issues that could materially affect their reputation or ability to conduct business. 

Your plan should be an organized, consistent, and strategic response to external and internal audiences during a crisis. But if you don’t have a plan in place yet, where should you start? Begin by walking through a crisis checklist with your team that factors in the following key elements:

  • Assessment of Identified Key Risks
  • Process to Escalate
  • Structure of the Crisis Communications Team
  • Initial Response Templates

Assessment of Identified Key Risks

Before starting or reviewing any crisis management plan, begin with an assessment of your organization’s most likely and/or impactful risks and vulnerabilities. Keep in mind the various factors that could affect your organization – operations, personnel, outside factors or events, etc.

Process to Escalate

Ideal crisis plans reflect some form of tiering when measuring the increasing level of severity and impact that a potential incident could have on your organization. By preparing for the various issue levels you could face, a crisis plan can be flexible enough to escalate when needed, but also handle and track lesser issues that have the potential to develop. 

Structure of the Crisis Communications Team

Establish the roles and definitions for the crisis communications team, the entity that will be responsible for communications information to executives, employees, the community, media, customers, regulators, and other publics during a crisis.

Initial Response Templates

An effective way to respond quickly but appropriately is with pre-designed, pre-approved initial response templates that address the most likely risks and vulnerabilities. Being able to quickly gather the information needed for an initial response statement that can address media requests and other audiences within the first minutes and hours helps keep your company in the conversation and position you as a source of updates going forward.

For more insights on how you can incorporate these crisis communications principles into your organization, contact us today. We’ve also made available for download a PDF that details best management practices for crisis planning and preparedness

Contact Us