Last month we assembled a list of seven steps to prepare for a crisis. We realize most organizations spend months and years preparing for crises never knowing when one may it, or if one may hit. If you’re not a seasoned crisis professional, sometimes preparation isn’t enough. In the event that you and your organization is facing a crisis, we’re now providing you with steps to take after it hits. However, don’t forget to prepare for the worst first, so if one does hit, it’s not as bad as it could be.
- Control the Situation
Gather facts and details from stakeholders who are close to the situation and start documenting the key facts for spokespersons. Ensure that all key stakeholders internally are aware of the situation before the media is aware or you conduct interviews. Be in every meeting and on every call to ensure you stay up-to-date with facts and information to keep stakeholders informed and provide real-time updates.
- Assess Risk
Work with the stakeholders to determine the level of risk assessment to your organization and evaluate if outside counsel is needed. At this stage, start developing plan A and backup plan B.
- Formulate Responses
Develop talking points, media statements, write op-eds, press releases, conduct interviews and other form of communications that are needed. Develop a list of all media outlets you’re working with, reporter names, contact information and deadlines to keep interviews moving and conducted on-time. While time is of the essence, follow-up with reporters after interviews to ensure they have the facts straight and everything they need for their story.
- Manage the Crisis
Continue managing the crisis by conducting internal stakeholder meetings and proving timely updates. Check resulting media to ensure that the stories are accurate and include your statement. Reach out to media outlets who have aired a story and did not contact your organization for statement. Set up another stakeholder meeting to discuss the crisis’ progress and reassess talking points and statements being used, outside counsel, etc.
Hopefully at this point, the media interviews and stakeholder meetings have calmed down, and there’s been a resolution to the crisis. While the resolution may warrant additional media communications and interviews, the end is in sight. Now is the time to get your organization’s reputation back after the bulk of the crisis is over. This is also the time to conduct journalist thank yous for their work with you during the crisis.
Now that the crisis has ended, hold a recap meeting, conduct a SWOT analysis and update your crisis plan for future potential crises. Thank your crisis team members, stakeholders and everyone else involved during the days and weeks.
Novitas has approximately 20 years of experience in crisis communications. We are always on-call and can help your experienced team or be your full-time crisis team. Check out our crisis communications page for more information!