The Forbes Agency Council has stepped up to offer 13 golden rules of a PR crisis as corporations across the globe continue to struggle with the basic tenets of working on a crisis whether related to customer service issues or death and destruction. See:
Brookwoods Group agrees with each and every step in this process and we highly encourage our communication colleagues across the board to adopt a crisis policy that will cover any and all potential crisis. These conversations are difficult to have but if we are to be prepared as a corporate function, we must be willing to discuss the most difficult topics to ensure we’ve uncovered every area of would-be conflict in order to have plans in place to address said conflicts.
Our team would like to add a few more valid points:
It is important to communicate both externally AND internally as the crisis unfolds. If employees are not in the loop, it can cause an internal fear that can spiral out of control and cause mass exits from the company. Use town halls to reinforce your communication with your employees and internal stakeholders. Ensure all employees have access to the basic messages as soon as they are finalized in order to have every single employee stay on message. This is so important because regardless of who may be the actual spokesperson for the company, all employees are out in their respective communities and can be put in a position to discuss what is happening. Your internal employees and stakeholders will be your most valuable asset during a crisis if properly trained.
In a global corporation, we’ll see both full time employees and contract professionals. The firms that provide the contract professionals may be instrumental to the success of your crisis campaign. If you communicate with your vendors and partners that employ your brain trust of contract professionals, you may find that you can leverage those resources and combine them with your full time employee base. Those partners may have a pool of crisis experts who can bring a level of expertise not necessarily found within the internal team. Communication with these partners will result in having a choice of crisis experts with various backgrounds that may be industry or topic specific. Use us! We’re here to help ease the pain.