Businesses in every industry will eventually face a crisis. A crisis is defined as a substantial circumstance which provides large-scale and adverse effects on organizations, companies, individuals, or products and services. The results cause financial losses, property damages, injuries, or deaths. There are various types of crises, and knowing them could help us mitigate their impact. They can be intentional, such as terrorism, sabotage, organization misconduct, and also unintentional, for instance, natural disasters, pandemic, and economic decline.
In response to a crisis, organizations typically have a "Crisis Communication Plan" as a guideline to reduce the impact of the crisis. The approach can be adjusted for various types of situations, while the plan itself requires consistent updates on trends, risks, and other factors that could cause and prolong a crisis.
The “Crisis Communication Checklist” is a set of instructions that aids an organization in preparation, action, and recovery. It is divided into three stages; Pre-crisis, Live-crisis, and Post-crisis. Each one takes on different roles in helping to overcome a crisis.
The Pre-crisis checklist is the preparation before the situation. The first step is a general risk assessment which is to gather and analyze information on potential threats. The second step is a “Crisis Management Team” is assembled. They are tasked to do the training, drills, and simulations with internal staff. The third step is to generate emergency contact personnel, such as local police, firefighters, and relevant authorities. The fourth step is the team develops messages and channels which is used to communicate with employees, investors, other stakeholders, media, and the general public. The fifth step is to appoint a spokesperson to address the situation during the crisis.
Actions in the Live-crisis period are vital, as it will determine shifts in the situation. During a crisis, all available data is gathered and evaluated by the Crisis Management Team and presented to a decision-maker. Once a decision has been made, it is time to communicate them.
There are several ways to engage the media. Hosting a press event is one common way. The organization’s spokesperson can also give a group or one-on-one interview with the press in person, on the phone and in a video conference, or via email. The organization can also send out a press release or a statement to the press. After communicating the actions, it is crucial to listen to the conversations and responses. The Crisis Management Team analyzes these reactions and makes adjustments accordingly. It is recommended that the organization continues to provide communication updates.
When the crisis has subsided, this is considered the Post-crisis stage. The last step of this process is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Crisis Communication Plan. As the market shifts and evolve, it is vital that the Crisis Management Team revisit and adjust the plan accordingly. Though the planning process may be tedious, it is crucial to have one in place to survive a crisis and minimize the negative impact on the organization and its brand.