Crisis Communication: Disaster shouldn’t mean silence
Crisis Communication Disaster shouldn’t mean silence 2011.07.20 brownsville 325 East Park Drive Brownsville, TX 78520 956.266.9613 houston 945 McKinney Suite 115 Houston, TX 77002 281.793.5928 san antonio 23705 IH-10 West Suite 209 San Antonio, TX 78257 210.824.3229 gilbertovelasquez.com/docs/disastercom.pdf
Audience Messaging Opening Statement Gilberto Velasquez & Associates lives by one single core belief: Amat Victoria Curam “ Victory loves preparation” We believe, in all things, that proper preparation prevents poor performance. This is why we believe in preparing and presenting not only those things which are requested, we expand upon the possibilities. This document, prepared for Sandra Fernandez, is part of our commitment to local government & non-profit entities to enable you to be prepared so that you remain victorious no matter what the challenge. Lessons learned herein were drawn from the Gallery Furniture fire. gilbertovelasquez.com
Leverage the Wheel <ul><li>From infrastructure to returning back to normalcy, make note of your organization’s role in the community (both citizen and business communities) </li></ul><ul><li>Build aspects of your wheel according to your abilities (are you a team of 3 or 3,000 or somewehre in between?) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to use emergent technologies or media exchanges </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget the old media channels, they matter as well </li></ul><ul><li>Check ego at the door </li></ul>wheel of readiness Wheel of Readiness gilbertovelasquez.com
<ul><li>Before developing a comm plan for disasters – where are you on the building itself? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are your servers stuffed in the rear of the janitor’s closet? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is your server room the intern’s work area? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you have a dedicated secure hardline for linking to the servers from an external source ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make critical changes to your infrastructure now before disaster strikes </li></ul><ul><li>Think like Sun Tzu in the Art of War: "The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” </li></ul><ul><li>Put servers, comm, and telephony in the place most resistant to the elements if you cannot afford to have the rooms built to fire / hurricane / disaster resistant standards </li></ul>infrastructure Wheel of Readiness gilbertovelasquez.com
<ul><li>There are a host of data back-up plans available on the market – many offer government and NPO / QGO discounts </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rely on the intern backing stuff up on his thumb drive </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure at least two people have access to the data – one IT personnel and one member of executive staff (preferably not the head of the organization in the event of a military or terrorist threat) </li></ul><ul><li>Automate the data back-up – the front desk secretary should not be the one scheduling the daily back-up </li></ul>data back-up Wheel of Readiness Plenty of choices and styles Available: Pick a plan. gilbertovelasquez.com
<ul><li>Designate who will say what when disaster strikes, and account for their whereabouts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Designate the Disaster PIO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designate the Twitter & Facebook Posters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designate the Blog & Tumblr Writers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designate the Email Traffic handler for your “common accounts” (like info@ or media@) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In the event any one of the above become unavailable for contact, make sure each one has a back-up person for them, or that others are adequately trained to pick up the slack </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the flow going, everyone needs to at minimum send copies of work </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, FORGIVE errors </li></ul>designated comm tree Wheel of Readiness gilbertovelasquez.com
<ul><li>Now that you have the people on the comm tree in place, make sure that the public is aware of these alternate communication channels </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure everyone internally and externally has your Email addresses spelled correctly, Twitter account handle, and Facebook / Tumblr URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Daily issue progress / status reports on where you are, what has been accomplished, and don’t be afraid to publicize set-backs (you’d be surprised at volunteers who step-up to the plate to help) </li></ul><ul><li>In these times, landlines of your entity may not be available, don’t fear giving out cell phone numbers publicly to those who can handle the communications – we live in a world where instant communication and being able to get someone is now required, not a luxury </li></ul><ul><li>While using your alternate channels, you will need to be prepared to understand that many people will become “faces” of the institution in the public eye – that happens: check your ego at the door and focus on getting your institution back to 100% readiness </li></ul>alternate channels used Wheel of Readiness gilbertovelasquez.com
<ul><li>As you slowly come back on line, whether at a temporary location or other, and when all data channels are restored, bring everything back to your Standard Operating Procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals who may have inadvertently become part of the public face need to now tone-down themselves and allow the institutional norms and pre-disaster public perception to come back </li></ul>migration back Wheel of Readiness gilbertovelasquez.com
Message Delivery <ul><li>Once you get back, you need to make an immediate assessment of the disaster communications plan you have in place, ask yourself the following questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did we execute the plan as laid out? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did we make changes as we went, and if those changes impacted positively, should we implement them in the future or was this a one-off situation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What changes SHOULD have been made, and how will we roll those in? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was the plan an overall failure or success? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Based on your answers above, work internally and with external consultants to determine your best practices in reworking your disaster communication plan </li></ul>return to normalcy gilbertovelasquez.com
Messaging during a disaster needs to be accurate, professional, and CAN be somewhat emotional. People need to know that you, and your organization, are human. This is your chance to gain a positive valence with a new audience, and take a European approach: show your humanity. That gains more respect and added value. audience messaging Audience Messaging Audience Messaging audience messaging gilbertovelasquez.com
audience messaging Audience Messaging Audience Messaging You are interconnected Your community is a part of you – that community is inclusive of both people and companies that make the society your institution resides in function. From brand identity to public relations, traditional media to social media, government to industry, a disaster communication plan allows your messaging to remain active with this community. The designated PIO for disaster has to not only execute the plan, but assure they have a head-check and let things happen. Mistakes will be made in messaging, be ready for that – correct, forgive and move on. gilbertovelasquez.com
Audience Messaging Closing Statement Gilberto Velasquez & Associates reminds you: Plans always look great on paper, but even Donald Rumsfeld thought Iraq was going to be a cake walk when he had it typed out. To that end, we value one other piece of wisdom gained from ol’ “Rummy” that we take heart to in every endeavour we get into: You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. Too often, marketing and brand / PR firms advise you on pie-in-the-sky tactics, always keep in mind when designing a plan that you work with the best of what you have can immediately obtain. Don’t rely on ideal concepts of hardware, software, telephony, etc. When you have a firm grasp of your own reality, then you can make a realistic communication disaster plan that leverages your institutional strengths. gilbertovelasquez.com
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