There is a lot of interest in crises during this latter half of 2017.
Thankfully, the focus of that interest is on how to be prepared before one happens. That preparation is a key to being confident.
Here’s how we helped a number of people last week to recognize the confidence that comes with being prepared.
Once again, we were fortunate to be invited to present on crisis communications – this time to an industry group.
This group included board members, CEOs, sales and marketing team members and others who would be acutely interested in their organization being prepared ahead of a crisis. They had gathered here in Saskatchewan from their posts across Canada to learn and network during their annual conference.
During our presentations, we share recent public examples of crises, insight into the public and media’s expectations, the initial steps to be taken when a crisis occurs and how digital and social tools can help deliver your messages. (We’ve delivered this presentation every couple of weeks this fall.)
We also tell some stories about our work during crises.
Here is a quick recap of those stories:
- A city was allegedly inundated with scavenging rodents. Residents were in a state of panic. For several days, local, provincial and national media ran inaccurate stories. Every attempt by city administration to quell the inaccuracies further stoked the fire. The crisis escalated. Enter Martin Charlton Communications. Our staff implemented an effective communications strategy, and coached a spokesperson. The facts calmed the fears. The once-popular national story disappeared by the next day.
- A fire breaks out at an industrial site. Workers were trapped underground. Local, provincial, national and international media started phoning. Company staff called Martin Charlton Communications who were on site in two hours. We took control of the information flow, giving the company officials time to get the workers to safety and collect information. Then we facilitated communications between the company, media and stakeholders. That work helped to protect the company’s reputation and to communicate its strong leadership in the face of the crisis.
From our conversations with those in the room after our presentation, we learned that having this information took the panic out of the possibility of a crisis. Knowing what needed preparing made it manageable.
We also met with others who have plans in place, but would like someone who is from outside their organization to review them. Having an objective perspective can help ensure all aspects have been considered and covered.
They found it a great relief to know we can become part of their communications team should they experience a crisis. Gathering information and distributing it using a variety of media is a very big job that ramps up very quickly. That’s just a portion of the work that is needed.
Having support in place ahead of an urgent situation can relieve a significant burden on those who work on their own or with one or two other people in their department.
Each time, at the conclusion of our presentation or meeting on crisis communications, participants resolve to get started creating, updating or reviewing their crisis communications plan.
That’s good to hear. No organization can afford to think it is immune to having a crisis involve it. (It is also wise to avoid having to manage a crisis by having a strategy for any issues that could escalate.)
Having a crisis communications plan gives you a roadmap to follow when the crisis hits. By preparing, you will have laid out the who, what, when, where and how of communicating in a variety of scenarios – so that you do it with confidence.
Being prepared before a crisis is best.
The need for effective crisis communications can strike at any time – preparation is crucial.
Protect your reputation and relationships by knowing how to respond in an urgent situation before it develops.
Start preparing now using resources by Martin Charlton Communications:
Access our recommendations for creating a crisis communications plan — based on what our experience has taught us works.
Contact us to arrange a presentation. Gather your group to learn more about how to prepare.