When did you last review your Crisis comms plan?
The Brussels bombings, Mossack Fonseca revelations, Alton Towers roller coaster crash; these unexpected dramatic incidents engage our emotions in sympathy for the victims and their families, and in anger towards the perpetrators.
Such incidents trigger two different responses among Crisis PR experts such as ourselves at Clareville. We not only react the same way as everyone, we also view them as professionals. What issues are the PR team facing? How are they responding? How effectively are they communicating? How is the public reacting to these communications?
The essence of crisis PR communications is preparation. Whether dealing with completely unexpected issues such as Brussels, Paris and Alton Towers or those that the PR team can probably see on the horizon such as criticism of South Yorkshire Police after the Hillsborough inquest decision, the team and organisation can be well prepared.
However, preparations need to be maintained, and we know that the Brussels and Paris incidents prodded the management of several organisations to review and update their plans. 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.
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.