Crisis Management: Every PR and Marketing Professional is a “Crisis Communicator”
By Roxanne Leone, Director Marketing and Public Relations
Hundreds of communications, marketing and digital professionals gathered at the PR News Crisis and Measurement Summit 2020 in downtown Miami just 4 weeks ago not fully anticipating where we would be today with COVID-19.
With the virus spreading across the globe, every PR and marketing professional must be wearing their “crisis communicator” hat – expert or not – yet 37 percent of companies surveyed by PRNEWS and CS&A International have never conducted a crisis exercise to prepare their teams.
On the flip side, over 62 percent of organizations do have crisis communications plans filed away that quite possibly have never been updated. The time is now…to dust it off, adapt and refresh your plan to ensure you are communicating with your employees, stakeholders, partners and customers during this time of uncertainty.
Pull together a crisis team
If you haven’t already done so, rally your primary crisis team to provide internal direction and reflect a consensus across all executives. This team should craft a plan for short-, mid- and long-term steps to ensure consistency of messaging. In addition, midsized to large organizations should put a secondary team in place to represent each department, such as legal, compliance, human resources, IT and others to keep them informed every step of the way.
Determine key messages
Determine what you are doing and going to do from a corporate point of view and how you want it communicated. Are you addressing outrage or fear? Are you talking about cleanliness and safety? Are you reducing hours of operation? Are there any new avenues for reaching customer service and technical support staff? Document messages for each applicable audience and secure consensus among all teams not to falter execution across the board.
If you have any bad news to share whatsoever, do it once, so it doesn’t trickle out slowly and you can focus your efforts on the good, proactive things you are doing.
Select methods of communication
Consider the best ways to communicate with your various audiences. Think about your website, social media platforms, intranet, email or a combination. If your role is in marketing or promotional PR, you should consider fine-tuning your media relations approaches and a short holding statement might be preferable. If the media reaches out to you, it’s important to respond to all requests, to be sensitive to deadlines, stick to the facts and to provide all reporters with the same information.
For more information on how to manage, plan and communicate during a corporate crisis, download these HubSpot templates for guidance, Crisis Communication and Management Templates.
If you need one on one assistance, Bob Gold & Associates will get you off and running quickly, whether that means dusting off that old crisis communications plan or creating a new crisis management strategy. As one of Clutch’s top 2020 crisis communications firms in the Los Angeles area, you can count on us.