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Crisis communication: too little preparation in reality.

Crisis communication for dummies: how to start?

During our simulation exercises, we often notice that there is no crisis communication toolkit nor a trained spokesperson present. Crisis communication is often the hot potato that is passed on to the marketing or sales manager. Due to a lack of knowledge, experience and training this becomes problematic during a crisis.
How can you step things up?

 

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Many companies count on their parent company or corporate group to write crisis communication. In reality, they only come up with some key messages, which you will have to adapt. Those are often written in English. You still have to translate them into various national languages and adapt them to multiple communication tools. Eventually, you are to communicate with various stakeholders (consumers, customers, journalists, authorities, employees). Moreover, journalists will always want to have a word with the local spokesperson.
 
Independent companies face other difficulties. They have to develop the crisis communication themselves. Their crisis team is often understaffed. This means that the communications manager has to develop all written communication and provide oral communication to the spokesperson. This is a bottleneck. Good preparation may be worth its weight in gold here.
 

3 tips!

Tip 1 backup

Start communicating at the very beginning of the crisis

First of all, prepare a holding statement to respond to external questions. Communicate the state of affairs internally and repeat the First Lines procedures. Make sure they receive the holding statement. Also decide on an internal contact point where First Lines or other employees can pass on questions or obtain extra information. This way, the crisis team can focus on their work, as there is only 1 internal point of contact.

 

 Tip 2 human firewall

Draw up a communication plan in advance

Here you agree who will communicate with which stakeholder and in what manner. This way, the stakeholders will communicate with their usual contact person. The message itself is based on the key message written by the communications manager of the crisis team.
Tip 3 losgeld

Brief the spokesperson

Ideally, your spokesperson is not a part of the crisis team. However, do not forget to brief him in detail about the state of affairs. Send him the statement, 3 key messages and a Q&A as soon as possible. Also ask him to come over to your premises in case the press comes by. Local crisis situations require a local spokesperson.

 

Food Security helps my company by:

Dienst Opleiding 1

Media training your spokesperson. A journalist will teach the participants the tricks of the trade. We can organise this in your company when there are at least 3 participants. Every year, we also organise a number of open media courses.
 
 
Dienst CMT 2
  
Giving a crisis communication workshop at your company. Together we develop all the necessary tools (holding statement, press release, internal communication, communication to customers, social media statement, Q&A and FAQ) for 2 different crisis scenarios.
Dienst Crimineel 3

 

Providing a communication matrix. It offers an overview of all the necessary communication tools and who will communicate with which tool to which stakeholder.