Because a crisis will happen
Right now, the sun may be shining, the curve flattening and sales soaring but the future cannot be predicted. A crisis can range from the industry-wide devastation witnessed during COVID-19 to a series of spiteful social media posts by a single disgruntled customer. A good crisis communications plan lays the foundation for how you respond to and manage all manner of catastrophe and calamity.
Because you can’t prepare for and manage a crisis at the same time
When it hits the fan, you don’t want to be caught scrambling to develop a crisis plan from scratch. A crisis is immediate and fast-moving and if you don’t have a communications framework in place, you’re already behind. A solid plan covers a raft of issues, scenarios, processes and procedures – trying to pull those together in real-time while also juggling a full-blown crisis is close to impossible.
Because ignoring a problem won’t make it go away
Sometimes dignified silence is the correct approach, other times silence is deafening and destructive. A crisis communications plan affords you time to workshop scenarios, investigate your options and explore real-world case studies for valuable insight into when to speak up and when to keep quiet. Crisis planning forces you to confront your vulnerabilities, murky past and potential red flags in a safe and neutral environment so you can craft strategies to mitigate potential disasters with a clear and level head.
Because your customers and clients will judge you on your response
Poor handling of a crisis can do irreparable damage to a brand’s reputation and sometimes even overshadow the crisis itself. A crisis communications plan helps you establish ahead of time protocols for when and how you respond as well as nominate and train spokespeople and develop key messages and holding statements.
Because your team will look to you for guidance
Crisis communication, like charity, begins at home. It’s vital to not only smooth the waters and manage your messaging with customers, clients and the general public but within your team as well. Knowing in advance how to brief staff and activate strategies, checklists and chains-of-command for employees to follow gives your response a fighting chance of staying clear and consistent.
Because the media doesn’t hand out free passes
Customers may forgive, staff may forget but journalists will rarely do either. Implementing a comprehensive crisis communications plan will ensure your spokespeople are prepped, your messaging is on-brand and you’re primed to make the best of your time in the media spotlight.