Will your business ever face a crisis situation needing careful and strategic communication? Quite possibly. (You can’t control everything.) And the degree of the fallout will largely depend on your timely and clear response—and a precise execution.
A good example is the recent Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream listeria situation, which has received national media attention. Unfortunate? Of course. How it’s being handled? Excellent. The company took immediate action and controlled the story. While the details were most likely worked out as the situation unfolded, the response showcased a steady calm only planning can produce.
Questions to ask when developing your crisis communication plan:
- What are the risks? Anticipate scenarios and work through the best course of action and key messages.
- What are the tough questions you might be asked? For each scenario, develop foundational messaging to avoid scrambling under pressure.
- What’s the plan? Establish clear protocol for both internal and external communication. (This includes prepping key players.)
- Who are your main audiences? Be mindful of your complete network, so no partners (including customers, third-party contractors, distributors and suppliers) are accidently neglected.
Remember, no amount of planning can take the place of an open and honest approach based on the facts in play—full transparency in a crisis is always the best policy.