May 19th, 2022

Issues management matters: how to prepare for a crisis

No matter how large or small your company is, it is inevitable that you will be faced with a crisis at some point in time. Instead of waiting it out, get an action plan in place so you are prepared for when it hits.

Before creating an action plan you must first consider what constitutes a crisis for your company. We have first created a step-by-step guide on this.

This article covers the second step in crisis management: prepare.

Step 1: organise a crisis team


In order to prepare you first need to organise a crisis team. This can be members of the communications, public affairs, marketing or social media teams and your public relations agency. Examine the current company guidelines and assess if they provide adequate detail on how the company should behave during a crisis. This will involve guidance on required action in different scenarios, correct tone of voice, media statements and a list of company spokespeople who are media trained. If you identify any gaps in the current guidelines, make a plan to get them updated right away.

It’s important to note that not every crisis attracts attention in the media or on social media, some only require internal action, but if handled badly can still be damaging to reputation. The tactics we are covering in this series refer specifically to crisis communications and external management.

If you need support to media train your company spokespeople, check out our four-week program here {link}.

Step 2: identify available tools


Next you will need to evaluate the tools you have at your disposal that are vital during a crisis. A tool to track the media, social media and public sentiment. Tracking your customers thoughts and feelings about your brand is something you should be doing already. Brand tracking is an ongoing exercise and not just a tactic to be employed when a crisis is happening. Knowing how the public, your customers and your stakeholders regard your brand is an ongoing process to help you to decide on communications and marketing tactics.

Evaluating the brand tracking practices you already have in place is important to identify any gaps that could become an issue during a difficult time. Media and social media tracking is crucial to inform your next move. Meltwater is an excellent tool to track media, social media and brand sentiment.

Establishing a quick access route to the legal team (if your company has one) or to legal advice, is a key step in preparing for a crisis. It is always a good idea to have sound legal advice at hand.

Step 3: fill in the gaps


Now that you have evaluated your tools and systems, it’s time to fill in any gaps. Consider if your company needs additional media training support, sample statements, crisis channel management, updated tracking tools and an emergency social media content schedule.

Once you have your crisis management strategy finalised rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Just like a fire drill, you should stage quarterly crisis drills. Try out a different scenario each time. This will allow you to put the strategies you have devised into play. During the drill ask the crisis team the following questions: who needs to know about this situation first? What internal actions need to be taken? Is there a statement ready to go? Who is prepped to speak to the media? What is happening on social media?

The best thing you can do for your teams is to ensure they are as prepared as possible before a crisis hits.

Schedule a meeting with our team to learn how London Agency can help with your crisis management strategy

Issues management matters: responding during a crisis

Issues management matters: responding during a crisis

June 9th, 2022