It is important to develop key messages that are clear, credible, useful, and believable.

Typically these messages will be built around the answers to three questions: What happened? What is being done about it? And what has been learned? The goal is to provide clear, straightforward, and accurate information in a timely fashion.

Once messaging has been decided, the next step is to put together a communication plan to ensure this messaging is delivered to all relevant audiences.

A crisis can unfold very rapidly, so communication plans must be flexible and responsive enough to deal with changing circumstances.

It is also important that plans are robust enough to maintain consistency of message across all audiences at all times; from senior management, to employees, customers, and suppliers.

Crisis Management Strategy

To develop a solid crisis management strategy, begin by identifying the types of situations that may emerge, and which ones pose the most risk to your company.

A good rule of thumb is to list three to five categories of crises, such as product recall, operational failure, or workplace misconduct.

Then, within each category, identify the specific scenarios that could occur and the impact they might have on your business.

In addition to identifying key issues, it’s important to determine who should be involved in managing a crisis and who is responsible for communicating with various stakeholders.

The more clearly you define these roles and responsibilities, the easier it will be when you are under pressure during a crisis.

Once roles are defined, it is essential to create detailed crisis response plans for each category of issue as identified in the previous step.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.