There’s an old adage bantered around by sailors regarding how to deal with treacherous weather on the water:
“The most important safety rule in storm sailing is this, ‘Don’t sail in storms.’ “
The same might be said about crisis communications. It would be ideal never to face one. Steps can be taken to lessen the chances of that, of course, but crisis never can be completely avoided.
Our team here at Charleston|Orwig works with clients to avoid situations where a crisis communications action plan might be needed. We also work hard to develop corporate social responsibility programs that might mitigate circumstance leading to a crisis or to ensure our clients receive the benefit of the doubt when one does occur.
The C|O process for navigating crisis has three parts.
Step one: Preparing Beforea Crisis Strikes.
- Determine vulnerability
- Scenario planning
- SWOT analysis
- Build crisis team
- Identify/prepare spokespeople
- Identify/prepare third-party allies
- Identify/prioritize key audiences
- Develop strategy to formulate/deploy messages.
Of course, you hope you never have to put your advance plan into effect. You will be in a much better position having a plan and never using it than needing one and not having it.
What to do when a crisis strikes and moving beyond crisis are two elements of corporate reputation management that will be the subject of future posts.