Have you ever had to handle a crisis in your business and didn’t know where to start from a communications perspective?
Here are some key tips to consider when deciding how to approach communication in a crisis.
Spokesperson – who is going to be the spokesperson for the issue? It is always best to appoint one person to be the key spokesperson on an issue – someone who holds the relevant authority or expertise for the topic that requires communicating. This will help ensure consistent messaging and prevent others from speaking up on a topic or issue that they may not be briefed on. Ensure those involved are aware of who the spokesperson is and when to defer to the spokesperson.
Communication plan – just like any other area in business, you should be prepared with a plan that identifies who the key parties are; the key contacts, the key communication channels and key timeline. Whilst there may not always be an ability to workshop a plan in the middle of a crisis, having a structured communication framework that resides within your critical business documents, can help prepare for the unexpected.
Key Messages – when an issue arises that requires urgent communication, one of the key actions that needs to be taken is to understand the key issues and identify the key messages that are to be communicated. These key messages should be articulated in a clear and concise manner that addresses the issues and presents a path forward. Often there may not be an immediate path forward available, but even a message to articulate when further information would be available and the next steps that are to be taken may form part of the key messages.
Touchpoints – whilst addressing who needs to be communicated to in your communication plan, it is also critical to consider the key touchpoints for your communication. You may need to consider direct styles of messaging for different audiences. Some of the channels that you may consider include social media, general media, newsletters, employee communications.
Timing – always be clear in your communication as to the key milestones and timings that are related to your communication. What actions are going to be taken when. Ensure that communication is delivered around the agreed timelines even if all answers are not known by the expected dates that were initially outlined
Often it is beneficial to work with people outside your business on crisis communication who can provide an impartial viewpoint and offer suggestions on the best to ways to address particular audiences. Additionally during a crisis you may not have the additional resources at your fingertips to implement your communications strategy.
Fresh Marketing work across all aspects of communication and are able to assist with crisis communication planning and implementation.