By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC
There are many great articles about the biggest PR crises in 2018. Rather than write such an article this year, I thought it would be more effective to help you plan your 2019 crisis communications strategies based on what happened in 2018.
A review of 2018 PR crisis events point to five major types of crises. My prediction is that you could easily face this type of crisis in 2019.
To begin your crisis planning, Step 1 is to conduct a vulnerability assessment. A free 5-part video series is online here to get you started.
- IT Hacks & Personal Information
- Social Media Gone Wrong
- Executive Misbehavior
- Mass Shootings
- Natural Disaster
IT and personal information hacks can affect any company. Facebook and other social media giants got in trouble for sharing data. Other companies faced the crisis of being hacked. Bots are trying to hack your company right now. Add this to your Vulnerability Assessment and make it part of your 2019 Crisis Communications Strategy.
“Social Media Gone Wrong” continues to damage the reputation and revenue of a growing number of companies. Ten years worth of social media brand equity can disappear in 10 seconds via a social media crisis.
Your crisis may result from your own post gone wrong. But more often than not, your crisis will result from one of your employees doing something wrong and having it captured by an eyewitness with a cell phone, which then leads to the event going viral. Expect it. Plan for it. Add this to your Vulnerability Assessment.
The #MeToo crisis exposed a lot of executive misbehavior as a crisis. This trend will continue in 2019, so add this to your Vulnerability Assessment.
Sadly, mass shootings at schools and at work are not going away. Add this to your Vulnerability Assessment. Most companies don’t issue a crisis communications statement until everything is over. This means that during the crisis, the narrative is initially told on social media and then expands to speculation by the media.
My crisis communications plans, systems and strategies will help you communicate during the crisis, immediately after the crisis, and throughout the days that follow. You can’t afford to chance this crisis. Prepare now.
Finally, natural disasters are getting bigger. This type of crisis requires you to communicate before, during and after the crisis. Events such as winter storms in January and February or hurricanes in the summer and fall require advanced communications to manage expectations, as well as frequent updates during and after the crisis. Add natural disasters to your Vulnerability Assessment.
For more help with your Quarter 1 Vulnerability Assessment planning, sign up for my Free 5-Part Crisis Communications video series and take advantage of the free planning phone call.
Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”
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