When it Comes to Crises Readiness, Stop Gambling and Start Doing

Nowadays you can’t flip on the news, catch up on social media or browse internet outlets without encountering a person or organization that is fighting a public battle to save face in a crisis. That’s because bad news travels so fast across digital channels that your company could be tried and convicted by the court of public opinion before you have a chance to respond.

Despite this fact, more than half of you reading this are not adequately prepared to handle the rapid— and genuine—response necessary to protect your organization in a crisis situation.

Perhaps you’ve been putting it off because it seems daunting. Or maybe you are convinced it won’t happen to your organization. Whatever your reason, if you aren’t crisis ready in today’s lightning fast digital world, you are gambling with your company’s reputation, your stock price and the livelihood of your employees.

Where to even begin?
The first stop on your path to preparedness is to identify and evaluate the potential crisis risks to your organization, including the unique crises that might occur based on your industry, geographies and customer base. Some will be more likely than others.

But in general, here are the 8 types of crises to consider as you’re assessing your risk:

-Online – rumors, accusations or misinformation arising in the social media space

-Technological – corrupted software, equipment or data breaches

-Internal – disputes among employees that might result in labor issues, employee strikes, inappropriate or illegal behavior, or disputes that might result in acts of violence or other extreme behavior

-Misdeeds management decisions that are not in line with corporate values and policies, knowing there could be harmful consequences to the company, employees, stakeholders or the environment (to name a few)

-Rumors – the spread of false rumors about the organization, especially on social media, that can lead to negative positioning for your brand, stakeholder revolt or even public boycotts

-Financial when an organization fails to pay vendors or other parties

-Safety – injuries or deaths of employees or visitors

-Product – failure of product or service with varying degrees of severity, from recall to injury or death of customers

Once you have reviewed and prioritized your potential threats, you can begin planning for how to respond to those that are most critical to your organization.
From there, you should work on:

1. Identifying your crisis communications team and defining roles, responsibilities and escalation policies

2. Training your spokespeople

3. Creating the tools you need to monitor the situation and respond quickly and appropriately

A comprehensive guide.
I am here to tell you that crisis planning is complex, and it does take work. But if you find your company among the headlines (for the wrong reasons) you will know what to do to minimize the impact to your business.

Stop gambling with your company’s reputation. Start by downloading this eBook for an in-depth review of potential threats, the social media factor and all the materials you should have in place to respond with confidence.
Jan Gusich is the founder of akhia communications and specializes in crisis preparedness and reputation management. She has decades of experience helping companies like yours prepare, respond and prevent crisis situations from escalating. She can be contacted at jan@akhia.com.