Are Crisis Communication Plans Crucial?

Too often, companies find themselves unprepared in the face of a crisis, operating under the impression that they need to turn to external experts and consultants when disaster strikes. Writing for O'Dwyers, Cortney Stapleton, a partner and professional services practice leader at Bliss Integrated Communication, offers a contrary opinion, observing that often "there’s no need for the latest crisis management guide or putting a crisis firm on speed dial, so long as you take the time each year to develop a thoughtful strategic communications plan and review social media guidelines."

Looking to embed crisis management and response into existing communications strategies, and identifying crisis communications as being a compressed and accelerated form of traditional communications, Stapleton offers four key items which can form the advance basis for any crisis communications strategy:

  • Message Delivery: Ensure your communications plan understands the audience, their locations, and their regular channels for communication.
  • Accessibility: Keep social media up to date as a first line of communication, and monitor regularly to determine if a more extensive response is warranted through other channels.
  • Honest and Integrity: Emphasize openness in times of crisis, and be prepared to admit fault when necessary.
  • Listening and Reacting: Be responsive to the questions and concerns of your audience.

By considering these items in your company’s standard communications plan, crisis communications will be embedded into everyday thinking.