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.