When you find yourself in the eye of a media storm, when corporate brand and reputation are on the line, you need a crisis media plan. For those organisations who have a crisis media plan it is vital that it has been pressure tested, in advance.
BUT WHILE YOU ARE BUSY FIREFIGHTING THE CRISIS SOMEONE HAS TO GET A GRIP ON YOUR COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY, BOTH INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY.
Here at Broadcast Media Services we’ve got 8 tips on what to consider to get things right:
1. What kind of scenarios will your business face?
Get everyone together and brainstorm all kinds of scenarios and order them from the most serious to the least. Group your scenarios into levels (discussed at the bottom of this article)
2. Who will lead and be the spokesperson?
It’s really important to think about the person who will be doing the internal and external communication (and a backup person if they are not available). They will be a representative for your company
3. Who to respond to?
You can’t service everyone so it’s important to know who gets priority and why
4. How to respond?
Responding to face to face interviews, phone-ins, telephone interviews, live on air or recorded. All are different and need different skills and methods of communication and will reflect the company in a certain light
5. Who to consider?
It’s important to consider how 3rd parties are going to be dealt with. Who else will be in the story – victims, families, emergency services, BBC commentators, politicians, staff? Who should you include and who should you not?
6. Who will respond to the public via social media channels?
This is where the public noise is coming from. In the communications age in which we live, how much time and resource do you allocate to quelling the tide of comment, anger and concern?
7. How does the business cope?
In a crisis it’s likely that there will be a lot of quick clear thinking will be needed in a timely and efficient manner so run a live scenario and pressure test
8. How did you do?
Analyse and review your decision making processes and your external facing interviews and evaluate the corporate performance
These main questions should start the ball rolling and help to refine your crisis media plan. Of course not every crisis is a Gold Command crisis. If a brainstorm has been done properly a lot of different scenarios will be developed which we like to group into levels:
- Level One incident are not business critical but may attract interest from local newspapers, BBC and independent local radio and may have some impact on reputation locally
- Level Two incidents are more serious, attracts not just local media attention but starts to make BBC and ITV regional news programmes, your trade and industry weekly press and perhaps a few paragraphs in the national media
- Level Three is when the national news hounds get interested
- Level Four is when the world is watching
BMS develops realistic scenarios and works with your communications team and the relevant level of management to test your responses and work with you on creating a crisis media plan which will kick in once a level two incident happens.
We have ongoing relationships with almost all our clients and can not only help formulate and test a media plan but also mobilise a support team.
Crisis Media Training is a cornerstone of corporate communications planning. So that when the worst happens you can protect your brand and make sure corporate reputation can recover.