Introduction by Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications
“It seems that, just when a communication campaign has adapted to current trends, it is already out of date.” – Chris Sheach, Paul Smith’s College
Creating crisis communications that resonate with a range of audiences has always been a challenge. The advent of social media has made this task even more complex. The way senior citizens get their information could not be more different than the way Gen Z or Generation Alpha get theirs. To remain relevant, crisis communicators need to keep in mind the new tools, platforms and techniques that will increase the likelihood the messages they create aren’t just sent, but are also received by the relevant audience.
This article, published earlier this year by Domestic Preparedness, describes a recent exercise involving students enrolled in the Disaster Management and Response program at Paul Smith’s College, located in New York’s Adirondack State Park. The assignment: work in teams to create competitive disaster preparedness communications campaigns incorporating new practices in social media. Author and professor Chris Sheach describes some of the novel and creative approaches his students took to get their messages out about winter weather preparedness.
One caveat: As you read the descriptions of how hashtags and memes brought humor to what otherwise might have been a dry assignment, remember that levity rarely has a role to play in crisis response itself.
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