Crisis board meeting

How to plan for a crisis

Crisis communications is a hot topic in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Liquid CEO Lis Lewis-Jones, an expert in crisis comms at board level, shares her advice for preparing an emergency plan.

In the digital age, social media means a crisis can be communicated at the touch of a button and escalate rapidly. It’s no wonder a growing number of companies are investing time and recourses in crisis communications. But how do you prepare for when the worst happens?

Who should be involved when preparing a crisis comms plan?

Businesses that assign a core group to deal with a potential crisis are able to communicate much more effectively. This group will most likely be made up of senior decision-makers, and each person should have a clear, defined role and someone responsible for communicating your plan for solving the issues.

When a crisis happens, many organisations are too slow to communicate – both internally and externally. If you’re slow dealing with the problem behind-the-scenes, it can look as if you don’t care. That’s why it’s vital to plan ahead should the worst happen.

Nobody likes talking about a crisis, but in trying times you will be thankful you had plans in place. To help, we’ve pulled together a simple checklist to help you plan and react:

  • Understand a crisis – A crisis doesn’t have to be the result of a major incident like Coronavirus. But if something goes wrong, the way you manage the response is key to maintaining a positive reputation.
  • Plan during peace time – You can’t plan for a crisis while you’re in the middle of dealing with one. Plan during a calm period where you can consider what you’ll do during and after a crisis occurs.
  • Stop situations escalating – In times of crises, many businesses are slow to act in the hope that things will “blow over”. Don’t let things snowball. Take action early – just be careful not to make a rash decision.
  • Keep calm – Take time to review your crisis management plan, check the facts, and never speculate. Make sure you’re consistent with your media spokesperson, and always be consistent and truthful with your updates.
  • Bounce back – The final stage of your crisis management plan shouldn’t be overlooked. It should detail how you will regroup and rebuild. Learn from past experience and make sure that you’re realistic with how you plan to bounce back.

You may never need a crisis communications plan, but having one in place will ensure that you and your business is adequately prepared should the worst happen.