Crises are very stressful. They can be emotional, sometimes devastating events. And they can happen at any time with little, if any, notice.
In these days of instant news, digital cameras and smart phones capable of sending high-definition video to the internet and “citizen” journalists, every minute counts. Yet, unless you’re an expert in crisis communications, you will likely find it difficult to think strategically when your heart is racing and the TV camera is focused on your face. Far better to think through the strategy in advance and be prepared to communicate proactively. Here's how we can help you prepare for the worst.
Do you know the difference between a Crisis Communication Plan and a Business Continuity Plan? Many companies have thought through the operational and logistical issues related to any number of crises, from fires and natural disasters to catastrophic tech failures and sabotage.
But how will you communicate if one of those crises occurs? How will you handle the ensuing media attention? Will you be able to reach employees, customers and other “key influentials” quickly?
You are more likely to be credible and in control during a crisis if you have spent time preparing before the crisis occurs. Your company’s reputation is too important to leave to chance. An Integrated Crisis Communication Plan is the best way to ensure your organization will respond quickly and effectively, preserving its good name when a crisis hits.
Our plans begin with an in-depth review of the issues most likely to make your organization vulnerable to a crisis. Then, we develop the strategies and messages that will help you respond should those issues - or others - develop into crisis events. Our plans include detailed instructions for dealing with the media during a crisis, recommendations for reaching out to other stakeholders, guidlines for structuring your crisis management ateam and a range of useful checklists and forms.
Testing your crisis plan is a critical part of crisis communication, business continuity preparation – and a major step towards resiliency. Hennes Paynter Communications can design and conduct cost-effective drills that simulate actual crises, testing your staff’s readiness and ability to respond.
Tabletop drills simulate crises in a conference room setting. Typically, a tabletop drill can last anywhere from 2-4 hours, followed by a “debriefing” in which all participants note the lessons learned during the drill, capturing these impressions while the drill is fresh in their minds so that strengths and vulnerabilities can be accurately assessed.
After the drill is completed, we prepare a full report, focused in particular on the team’s readiness to respond to the flood of inquiries that would realistically occur during a crisis. Also considered and assessed:
Short of waiting for an actual crisis, this type of drill represents a cost-effective way to evaluate organizational preparedness while there’s still time to address needed improvements.
Much more elaborate than tabletop drills, functional drills include both participants and actors simulating reporters, government officials, members of the public and others who might be involved in an incident. This type of drill unfolds in real time, with emphasis on realism.
Having a business continuity and/or crisis communications plan in place is good. Testing that plan is better.
For more information about testing your plan with a drill or to find out more about our services, please call us at 216-321-7774 or email us at email@example.com.
Ron Zambetti, Director of Security
"Hennes Paynter Communications has been, and continues to be, an extremely valuable resource to me and to RTA. They have the skills to quickly and accurately analyze a media situation and then work to effectively develop and implement an appropriate media plan."