An unexpected crisis can happen to any company at any time. Companies with a well conceived and tested plan improve their chances of maintaining public trust and clients in the face of a major crisis. Here are a few steps to get you going:
Assemble a cross functional and diverse team. Evidence support that teams with diverse team members (i.e., hierarchy, age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) produces better ideas, products, and outcomes. The idea that different experiences and beliefs give way to more innovative solutions is more than a notion.
Create a broad strategy in advance. Past experience is a good place to start. Use past incidents, yours or other companies, to help define the types of unexpected events which might occur and set a broad strategy to combat them; one that is specific to your company or industry.
Train internal representatives in advance. A periodic test of the plan is always a plus as well. Schedule drills to test the operational steps of the plan.
Consolidate the public relations function. Nothing is worse than different, uncoordinated sources interacting with the media and providing inconsistent information. Remember, once trust is lost it is nearly impossible to rebuild. Drive on contact with the media through a single or centralized source. Be sure all employees understand the importance of let the designated individuals interface with the media.
Partner with external organizations for assistance. An objective view can help bring perspective to the situation. The nature of the crisis might well warrant the use of a Public Relations (PR) firm. Identify and interview the firms during the plan development stage. Incorporate suggestions for the PR firm into your plan.
Let us know if you need assistance with your Crisis Response Strategy.
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Tritz, T. W. (2002). Crisis management strategy utilized by the United States Department of Defense following the terrorist attack on America: A case study. Journal of Undergraduate Research. Retrieved February 8, 2010, from http://www.uwlax.edu/URC/JUR-online/html/2002.htm