It was a mammoth year for P4 Group and crisis communications. From guiding operators through the Aged Care Royal Commission to managing multiple levels of stakeholders in complex Government projects, we have grown exponentially as a team and our skillset is ever increasing.
But let’s face it, any company crisis isn’t what you genuinely wish for as a communications expert. It’s a time of intense difficulty or danger for the business, where a reputation is at stake. You must work closely with C-suite executives, build their trust and combat the crisis in an efficient manner that protects the business’ future.
So, how do you do effectively achieve this? I have outlined my key takeaways to help minimise risk and maximise results through critical crisis planning, enabling leaders and teams to prepare, manage and respond consistently.
If you ever have a question on how best to approach a crisis or are eager to mitigate the chance of anything arising in the first place, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I would be more than happy to assist you.
First things first, you need to find a group of colleagues who will form part of your Crisis Management Team (or CMT). This is imperative to ensuring crises are dealt with in a smooth and timely manner. These roles can include, but are not limited to:
You can never have too much planning in place, which is why maintaining a thorough crisis communications plan will be your god send.
It is always better to overprepare than underprepare, so make sure the one you have on file details all the relevant facets, is up-to-date and can be put into action at any moment.
At the very least, this document should include strategic goals and objectives, a detailed list of the business’ key stakeholders, brand positioning statements, a risk management analysis with mitigation techniques and communication and engagement tactics including FAQs for internal and external stakeholders and approved written statements ready to go to media on crises that have a high impact to the company and a high probability of unfolding.
It may seem like an obvious point to mention but if a crisis does hit the organisation, don’t forget to implement the crisis communications plan you worked so hard on. After all, that’s what it is there for!
Nutting out a process of how to respond to media before you start receiving the journalists’ calls, texts and emails saves you a mountain of time on the other end.
While it can be tempting to refuse the journalist’s request, that action will only add fuel to the fire and likely result in a one-sided piece of negative coverage that slams the company’s reputation. If you are contacted:
I can’t emphasise this enough. Media training is incredibly undervalued and the transferable skills that you learn from these sessions can prepare you for any conversation, albeit with your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances or most importantly, your media mates.
It is an opportunity to develop peoples’ skills and provide the tools to communications key messages succinctly and with impact. This in turn, will contribute to building the profile and awareness of the business to key stakeholder groups.
At P4 Group we partner with a highly experienced facilitator who has more than 20 years’ experience in radio and television journalism and has worked as a communications specialist trainer for over 15 years.
People in the leadership team are perfect candidates for media training, as well as staff who are on the ground and meeting your everyday consumers. Expected outtakes from our workshops can include:
Above all, you must remain steady throughout the entire process and take every element of the situation very seriously.
Whether you’re working in-house awfully close to the matter or for an agency who has been contracted to help manage the past, present or future issue, you need to build that level of trust with your stakeholders.
To find out how we can assist you during a company crisis contact Sarah Broad at @firstname.lastname@example.org.