Warren Buffet said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
Crisis communications is preparing for those inevitable events, both large and small, that can damage an organization's hard earned reputation. We aren't negative people; we just have been practicing public relations long enough to know that crises happen, and how they are handled is the difference between gaining the public's respect, or having a going-out-of-business sale.
So, how does a company manage a crisis the right way? Be prepared. That is the essence of crisis communications, and that's what we help our clients do.
We help organizations anticipate potential problems and develop a response for each scenario, designate roles and responsibilities for each member of the crisis team and identify a primary spokesperson. Most importantly, we establish a command center where accurate information can be managed and delivered at certain times through specific channels such as their websites, social media sites, or during a media briefing.
Crisis Communications Message Development
A key part of any crisis communications plan is the message. A crisis can happen fast. That’s why it’s important to have messaging prepared ahead of time that addresses the situation and minimizes fallout. In all our crisis communications work, we use a proven messaging formula designed to help clients communicate compassionately during a crisis and put things in perspective for the public. Our crisis communications training helps clients answer these questions:
- What would a reasonable person expect a responsible organization to do?
- What are the three most important things you want people to know?
- What is the one sound bite you’d like people to remember?
- Who are the most important stakeholders you need to communicate with?
- What is the one question we hope we don’t get asked?
Crisis Communications Media Training
We train clients on how to be interviewed during a crisis, so they appear confident, compassionate and knowledgeable and are able to direct the interview, rather than just be along for the ride. In many ways, a crisis is your organization's opportunity to prove its merit and demonstrate its fortitude. That's what crisis communications prepares you to do: handle a negative situation in the best possible way, so that you come out on top.
Our half-day or full-day crisis communications media training sessions include interview tips and guidelines and message development. We conduct and record mock interviews to help clients see how they might appear in a real interview setting. While no one can have complete control over a story, media training gives companies a better chance to guide the conversation and be pleased with the result.
Crisis Communications Online Monitoring
A key component of any reputation management program, and crisis communications in particular, is monitoring and understanding what people are saying online, a place where a simple grievance can escalate quickly. This is especially critical when an organization faces a crisis that can damage its reputation. We monitor social media channels, blogs and online forums for any negative chatter. We identify the key industry influencers, so we can provide insight to our clients about what relationships to develop. We help clients analyze the sentiment of different comments and determine if, when and how to respond.