No matter how long one built its company’s image and reputation, a crisis may suddenly arrive and destroy everything without any forewarning, worse, it may happen even in the most unexpected flash. Fumbled crisis management can erode to a worst outcome: entirely shutting down of your company. Keep in mind that people will only remember your brand because of two reasons: it’s a top-of-mind product or it’s a crisis legend. Who would prefer the latter one?
Companies that prioritize health and safety of men, women, and children should expect that any unfortunate accidents may affect their image into the public eye. Note, a crisis can be as dramatic as a plane crash and can be deceivingly subtle such as food-borne disease. Labor grievances, financial problems, and crime can all lead to crisis as well.
These crises can only be aided if a communication plan is planned ahead of time. According to the Crisis Communications Manual of the Travel Industry Association of America, a crisis communication plan is only one of overall safety and emergency preparedness plan for any company. Nonetheless, there is a “P-6” strategic planning process that can be followed to avoid the worst outcomes brought by crises:
- Predict. Brainstorm with all the employees and come up with every possible crisis issue that may arise and end up destroying your company.
- Position. Decide who will be responsible for the following roles:
- Spokesperson: employee/s who will answer media queries, answer phone calls, and prepare statements;
- Researchers: the team who will be dispatched to gather and verify facts about the nature of the emergency;
- Switchboard operators: employees who will determine which calls should be accepted, though they are not allowed to answer anything; and
- Clericals: the team who will help the entire staff in recording facts and statements and will also act as messengers.
- Prevent. Take time to study and teach your employees preventive measures against crisis. Most of the time, enough crisis communication training can save considerable future grief.
- Plan. In case the prevention failed to save your company from a crisis, a meticulous and comprehensive operational plan will play a huge role in times of crisis.
- Persevere. Follow your plan and stick to the designated positions; see crises in a thorough and professional manner.
- Prevention Review. Review step number 3 and determine what went wrong despite of the prevention, and then enhance and follow the step to prevent crisis from happening again.
Keep in mind that the Crisis Communication Plan is not capable of entirely saving your company from crises, however will always be the most constructive way of facing the storm, and get back to your business as soon as possible, and as positive as possible.