When "it" hits the fan


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The time to prepare for a crisis isn't when you get the call. The time is now to start putting a process in place to handle crisis communications to help save your organization's reputation.

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When "it" hits the fan

  1. 1. When “it” hits the fanBy Red Shoes PR
  2. 2. Today’s presentation you willlearn: Basics on how to prepare for a crisis What to do when “it” hits the fan The importance of consistent messaging The important role social media plays The speed of communications and sequencing After the crisis
  3. 3. The question is … How many of you have a crisis plan in place? Flickr photo by comicsrainbow
  4. 4. It’s not a matter of if … It’s a matter of when Flickr photo by AlanCleaver_2000
  5. 5. Before “it” hits, you need to: Determine or define what a crisis is to your organization  Accident?  Issue?  Emergency?
  6. 6. Time is on your side … BEFORE a crisis hits
  7. 7. What a crisis is An action or event that has the impact to stop your business in its tracks and the potential to shake your organization’s long-standing credibility The situation has the potential to “bring the brand and subsequently the company down.”
  8. 8. The many faces of crisis Layoffs Employee embezzlement Workplace violence Bomb threat Disgruntled customer Accident/injuries And the list goes on Because of the speed of communications, something seemingly benign could get the best of your organization. Oftentimes through misinformation
  9. 9. From Social Media to MainstreamMedia and beyond  Video found on The Consumerist
  10. 10. Domino’s Response YouTube video from  Video found on Vojtech(PR) president
  11. 11. Typically … An organization wants to duck and cover hoping the situation blows over An organization is unable or unwilling to see the situation for what it is … or could be (they are too close to the situation) Unable to deal with or recognize the speed of communications today
  12. 12. Some other recent crisis Toyota and sticking gas pedals Japan and earthquake BP GAP logo change RIM (Blackberry) Former congressman Anthony Weiner
  13. 13. How to plan Draft a simple yet impactful plan Solicit others involvement in development of plan, this encourages awareness and discussion (include other departments)
  14. 14. How to plan Identify a core group to handle crisis communications/operations Identify outside resources you may want to use for planning or when “it” hits the fan Have simple statements drafted so you can fill information in when the time comes (if possible, identify crisis scenarios and write to those) Develop or participate in a drill
  15. 15. How to plan Have working knowledge of communications platforms now … don’t wait until you are under fire  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Dark website
  16. 16. How to plan Identify a spokesperson (have a plan B, C, too.) Have a contact list of your key stakeholders, executives, etc (from electronic to printed) Outline your target audiences (staff, vendors, public at large, board members, etc.)
  17. 17. How to plan Have a discussion with key leadership before a crisis hits Walk through the plan and process Build relationships with local fire, police, OSHA, etc.
  18. 18. How to plan Raise difficult questions and try to find answers (better to be aware now of potential pitfalls than later when the media calls) Have ways to monitor online conversations and coverage  Monitoringsoftware  Google alerts
  19. 19. How to plan Remember, crisis communications begins with you and the team!  Communications should be centralized … this means all communications need to be reviewed by central team  Communications team/specialist distributes all messages (internal and external)  One spokesperson  Identify individual(s) who will handle all media calls  Notify organization of point person and process  Put yourself in the shoes of your audience(s)
  20. 20. And remember … Media train! Tips such as:  Relaying factual information  Paying attention to body language  Answering questions succinctly
  21. 21. The impact of social media intoday’s crisis communications Many organization’s focus solely on media You need to remember social media channels can work in your favor … or against you Make sure your messaging is consistent You don’t have the luxury of time today like you did a few years ago
  22. 22. Sequencing of communications What do we mean by sequencing? As much as possible, time the communications  8a.m. internal all staff memo  8:15 board members  8:30 media Tip: Keep in mind that once you send an e-mail to internal audiences, the media is only one click away … be ready to roll
  23. 23. What your audiences expecttoday Transparency Honesty Listening Response Humility
  24. 24. When “it” hits the fan Have you ever surfed? Surfers know that to ride a wave, they have to think ahead and catch the wave … before it catches them Think of your communications the same way
  25. 25. Be proactive in yourcommunications As much as possible, be proactive in your communications (even if there is no new information, let them know that) If you have any sense that a story is going to break, get ahead of the communications
  26. 26. Be proactive in yourcommunications Anticipate questions you might be asked and the responses you are going to give Project confidence, manage your messaging You should consider calling a press conference before they call you
  27. 27. Develop key messages Determine three to five key messages you want your audience to know Utilize key messages as often as possible in communications Make sure your messaging response is appropriate (and not way out in left field) What you send internally should closely match what goes externally
  28. 28. What happens if you wait for themedia to call you You are scrambling to grasp the situation The right people to answer questions might not be available Your organization looks like it is trying to “cover” something up Ultimately, your audiences might doubt your credibility
  29. 29. Organizationally you need to beprepared Make sure “front line” is set up to handle on- going questions from customers What you are promising publically to change, your organization needs to live up to these promises After all, you can’t put lipstick on a pig Flickr photo by YannRopars
  30. 30. Even after a crisis, there’s work todo Pull the team together to go through what worked and what didn’t work Discuss what you could do differently next time Figure out what steps need to be taken to regain trust again
  31. 31. Remember … Like snowflakes, no two crisis are ever the same And always have your finger on the pulse of trends and public sentiment The Golden Hour of communications … the first 60 minutes set the tone Flickr photo by James Clarke
  32. 32. Questions? Contact  LisaCruz, President  920-574-3253  920-205-9796 (the bat phone!)  Lisa@redshoespr.com