By Stephanie York, JD, Hennes Communications
Any government agency should prioritize communicating truthfully, transparently, quickly and effectively, using traditional media, social media, the agency’s website and any other methods available.
A serious issue or crisis ups the ante on communications. That’s when stakeholders most need correct and timely information. That’s also when damaging misinformation and rumors are more likely to spread.
Internal PR and marketing people often don’t have the skills needed in a crisis. Public relations and crisis communications are very different — and applying the tactics of one to the other is done with peril. The same may be true for CEOs, whose C-Suite talents may not translate to crisis communications.
When confronted with a serious issue, government organizations must seamlessly continue daily operations while communicating proactively and transparently with stakeholders. Unless the public officials have a practical, road-tested crisis communications plan, bringing in experts to get those first communications out to stakeholders before the rumor mill and social media posts take over the narrative is critical.
A seasoned crisis communications firm can prepare administrators and staff, offering seminars for the team and on-camera media training for designated spokespersons.
Start now by conducting due diligence to find a qualified, experienced firm or consultant and begin building a relationship – before the crisis. Precious time can be lost if you are scouting a crisis team at the onset of a crisis.
But be aware that many public relations firms tout their “crisis communications” expertise — even if it’s not true. For 7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Crisis Comm Firm” click here.
Hennes Communications is one of the few firms in North America focused exclusively on crisis communications, open 24/7/365. Our entire practice is focused on helping clients prepare for and manage serious issues and crises, with emphasis on telling the truth, telling it fast and telling as much of the story as possible. For more information, please call 216-321-7774.