Public Relations: Crisis Communication Plan

1. Develop appropriate target publics
Publics such as news/media that the business wants to reach as asoon as a crisis occurs
2. Essential information should be communicated to all affected publics
– Open & honest approach is reccomended avoid accusations of a cover up
– Messages should be simple enough for the publics to understand
> A “no comment” or silence fuels the imagination
– Media should be informed as more info is gathered
– Employees should be kept informed regularly
> damaging if internal audiences first hear about the facts or alleged facts in the media
3. Get the facts
– Necessary info should be gathered & tested to ensure its authenticity & reliability
= all allegations should be thoroughly investigated
> counterproductive to think that no one will learn about them
4. Responses should be given as quickly as possible
– Indecisiveness may worsen the situation & suggest a cover up
> Hasty or impractical decisions may make the situation worse in the long run
5. Be prepared to answer questions
– Common questions that may arise:
= What, When, Where & Why (did it) happen(ed)?
= Who is/was affected?
> anticipating such questions results in more thoughtful responses
6. Provide regular updates
– Use press releases & conferences to keep media informed of any developments
– Avoid talking “off the record” to a journalist as it may eventually be reported
7. Establish a chain of command
– Decisions should be clear
– The decision maker should be given adequate authority
8. Establish a Crisis Communication Team
– A team of company personnel representing all aspects of the business should be assembled & briefed on the situation
Crisis Communication Team
– The team should appoint an official spokesperson to deliver necessary information to the publics
= possess good communication skills
= have a comprehensive understanding of all issues involved
> this will avoid conflicting messages being communicated > assure the publics are receiving accurate information
Technical experts may be needed to explain difficult terms
> their presence creates an air of authority in times of crisis
9. Monitor the progress of the crisis communication plan
– Once the crisis communication plan has been put into action, it needs to be carefully monitored & then corrective action taken if needed
10. Evaluate the effectiveness of the Crisis Communication Plan
– After crisis has subsided, representatives from all aspects of the business should:
= revisit the crisis management plan
= identify any weaknesses or shortcomings which need to be alteredt to more effectively respond to future crisis situations