What if there was a complete IT crash at your business? A product recall? An outbreak of illness blamed on your organisation? Or a fire? A fatal accident? A flood? Staff malpractice?
How would your team cope with communicating internally and externally? What if senior managers are on holiday? Is the crisis communications plan sound?
A recent survey by PwC found that 65 percent of the CEOs interviewed had experienced at least one crisis in the past three years. More than half have faced two or more and 15 per cent had gone through five or more crises in that time. Looking forward, more than 30 per cent of CEOs predict they will face more than one crisis in the next three years.
With crises increasingly frequent, organisations of all types are suddenly being prompted to think – when was the last time we reviewed our crisis communications?
The essence of crisis PR communications is preparation. Whether dealing with completely unexpected issues or those that the PR team can probably see on the horizon such as legal cases, the team and organisation can be well prepared.
However, preparations need to be maintained. Even if the documents need little amendment, it is also vital and valuable to remind all the team to be aware of their own and each other’s roles and how to respond when any issue occurs. Have there been new starters since the last time the plan was review?
So, the questions for all organisations are –
– When was the last time you reviewed your crisis plan especially the crisis communications plan?
– Have any of the members of the team changed since?
– When did your crisis response team last read it to refresh their minds about their roles?
– When, if ever, did you test the plans?
Sadly incidents help to remind us to do this. But it is better to review plans without being reminded.
Crisis communications specialists such as Clareville can be valuable in looking objectively at the plans.