Key steps for crisis management

The tragedy of Italy’s cruise ship Costa Concordia in January serves as another reminder for the need for strong crisis management plans.

Solid preparation, a coordinated team and a well thought through plan can make the difference in maintaining a company’s reputation during a crisis and in its aftermath.

It is not only the crisis period that is important – the preparations before and the evaluation after should receive attention when considering crisis communications.

Good crisis management can be planned according to the below key stages:

  1. Prevention: Actions to prevent a crisis
  2. Preparation: What you can do to be well prepared in a crisis
  3. Control: How you can control the crisis as much as possible
  4. Follow up & evaluation: What to do after the crisis to prevent future reoccurrence.

In case of a crisis, a ‘modus operandi’ should be agreed. Normally a crisis management team should meet as soon as possible, and then have regular meetings to agree appropriate actions and media responses to the situation. So vital information is not lost, a log of all resulting policy and actions should be made.

In case of a crisis, employees, the media, customers and the public want to have as much information as possible.

Some general external communication guidelines always apply in times of a crisis:

  1. Take the initiative
  2. Be open, be honest and be human
  3. Be careful and consistent with your information
  4. Personalise communication towards all your target groups
  5. Have a clear communications goal in mind
  6. Don’t forget internal communications
  7. Indicate the right frame of reference
  8. Find allies to support you.

In case of a media interview, some golden rules should be followed:

  1. Select your spokesperson carefully (don’t send the general to the battlefield first)
  2. If possible have an arrangement to check press information before it is published
  3. Have a tape running to record media interviews
  4. If possible, choose a place for interviews where you feel comfortable
  5. Have confident body language
  6. Think about an appropriate appearance and dress code
  7. Ensure your spoken word is measured, sincere and practical.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.