To manage risk, steward your reputation, and protect lives and property, preparing for a crisis and practising fundamental responses are key to effectively managing an emerging issue and resulting crisis.
A crisis plan typically addresses both the operations and communications functions and is often supported by external resources. Key to crisis preparedness is simulating an environment that closely approximates a real-life emergency scenario. This would include creating simulations of various complexities that could be moderated, typically by a third-party, and debriefed with recommendations.
Also key to managing any crisis situation is your relationship with the media. Understanding the role of the media and how to meet both their needs and the needs of your organization will help ensure a positive public image as the crisis unfolds.
A few media relations best practices include:
- Return media calls as soon as possible.
- Provide accurate and timely information.
- Ensure consistent messaging – internally and externally.
- Be honest and provide appropriate context to the situation.
- Make fact-based statements and avoid providing personal opinions.
- Do not use jargon or acronyms that would be unfamiliar to the public.
- If you are not sure of the answer to a journalist’s question, ask for time to respond.
- Be professional. Avoid off-handed comments or remarks.
A well-managed crisis situation will help an organization manage its reputation by retaining a positive public image, enhancing stakeholder confidence and ensuring improved internal operations.
Although you may hope for the best, in this scenario, it is always better to plan for the worst. For crisis communication planning assistance and additional media relations tips, feel free to contact us!