Here at DEVENEY, one of the key pillars of our business is crisis management. Not for the faint of heart, the ability to properly manage a crisis is a skill that escapes some of the most seasoned professionals.
So how can a business effectively equip itself in the event of a crisis? The unequivocal answer to that question is preparedness. Anticipating the types of crisis your business might experience is the key to enabling your organization the ability to navigate one.
Thinking of the potential vulnerabilities specific to your business is often a good first step in preparing for a crisis. Does your business deal with secure information? Is your point-of-sale software secure? How would your executives handle a breach? A consumer packaged goods company might deal with a product recall or a class action lawsuit, while a government agency or political figure might have to navigate through issues like corruption, civil unrest or even personal attacks on their persona.
In advance of a crisis, assembling the right response team is an essential step for helping to manage through what might be a confusing and chaotic time. Given that turnaround is a crucial element to crisis response, a small and nimble team comprised of key function leaders is ideal. A broad example might include the CEO, CMO, COO, a lead from the public relations team and legal counsel. However, consideration into which business function could be affected by the crisis will provide greater direction.
TRAIN. TRAIN. TRAIN.
Media training in advance is important for navigating a crisis. Providing business stakeholders with messaging is often not enough if a spokesperson is unable to deliver the message properly. A good media training will take executive spokespeople through mock crisis situations and prepare across all mediums, like radio, print and broadcast. The DEVENEY media training model takes participants through several potential situations and utilizes a professional journalist throughout the process.
In order to gauge the breadth of a crisis, monitoring needs to be in place as early as possible. There are many programs which make monitoring easy and deliver results via email or text. Based on the type of your crisis, traditional media monitoring or social media monitoring should be employed. Monitoring provides the necessary insight into the types of conversation that might be going on surrounding your brand or the overall sentiment, which will help guide where to direct your response efforts.
In advance, broad statements can be developed to prepare a business. Again, thinking back to potential vulnerabilities will help shape the types of statements needed. Most recently, the newly elected mayor-president of Baton Rouge engaged DEVENEY for support during her initial days in office. Knowing that Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome was entering into a challenging situation in Baton Rouge, the DEVENEY team armed her with messaging pertaining to community, unity and a focus on flood recovery.
While preparation is the best approach, FLEXIBILITY is also important. Keep in mind that a formulaic approach will help to keep a business prepared, but remaining flexible will allow one to respond smartly, uniquely and in a timely fashion.
How do you prepare for a crisis? Tweet @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.