Crisis Communications Master Class: The Golden Hour

Last week’s crisis communications master class focused on the golden hour, a very critical time for those facing a crisis. If your company is facing a crisis, you must issue a statement to employees, the media, customers, and other stakeholders within one hour or less of the situation becoming known to the public. If you fail to communicate during the crisis communications golden hour, the narrative will get captured by others who may not know all of the facts.

What they post to social media will likely damage your revenue, reputation, and brand. The effects of that damage can be long-lasting. In this master class, we talk with Doug Levy, author of The Communications Golden Hour. Your host is SituationHub Founder and crisis communications expert Gerard Braud. The SituationHub crisis communications software platform can not only help you communicate effectively during the crisis communications golden hour, but SituationHub can actually write your first communications statement in 1-3 minutes. It turns the golden hour into the golden minutes.

Replay – Free Master Class – The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

Minutes and seconds count in a crisis. If you missed Thursday’s free Master class, the replay is now online.

Use this link to access the content.

Preparation is the key to fast crisis response. We dig deeper into the need for speed in your crisis communications and explore the tools you need to effectively communicate.

We discuss:

  • How to organize communications so that crucial information gets out fast
  • Why some messages work better than others
  • How to choose the right words
  • Skills to be an effective spokesperson
  • What you need to know about special populations or other unique factors in your audience

Your free registration for this Master Class is a gift from SituationHub.com. If your company has the potential to experience a crisis (and you know it does),

SituationHub is the fastest way to:

  • Gather the facts
  • Confirm the facts
  • Notify your crisis team
  • Write a statement for the media, your employees, and stakeholders.
  • …and do it all in a remarkable 3-10 minutes.

Be well; Be safe,

The SituationHub Team

SituationHub.com makes crisis communications move at the speed of social media. Use this link to schedule a free, private call https://calendly.com/braud/15min

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit: https://www.situationhub.com/#demo

CONNECT: https://twitter.com/situationhub

VISIT OUR SITE: https://www.situationhub.com/

Crisis Communications Tip: Mind the Gap

Today’s crisis communications tip is to Mind the Gap. There is a gap of time between the flashpoint of your crisis and the time in which your first crisis news release statement is released to the world. You need to communicate the truth. If you fail to do so, you create a Truth Gap.

If you’ve been to the London subway, you’ve seen signs that say, “Mind the Gap.” There is a gap between the subway station platform and the subway train door. If you don’t “mind the gap” you will step into a gap that will injure or kill you. In crisis communications, if you don’t mind the gap, you will injure or kill your revenue, reputation, and brand.

My challenge to you is to close the gap in your crisis communications process in order to release a statement to the media, your employees, and your other key stakeholders much faster than ever before.

In a previous blog, we talked about how the SituationHub.com crisis communications software application can transform the Crisis Communications Golden Hour into Golden Minutes.

Social media has made the gap in crisis communications worse because Twitter and Facebook Live are telling the story in the first minute, while most companies take three or more hours before they release a statement to the media, their employees, and other key stakeholders.

Close the Gap

The three best ways to close the gap include:

  1. Write a crisis communications plan that dictates speed.
  2. Use the SituationHub.com app to write news releases in 3-5 minutes or have a library of pre-written news release statements as Microsoft Word documents.
  3. Hold regular crisis communications drills to test your plan, your process, and your people.

Regarding #1, most crisis communications plans only outline a list of tasks to be done. Very few light a fire under anyone’s butt. Your plan needs to light that fire. Speed is king.

One secret to speed is for your plan to outline how you can release small bits of information a little at a time.

You don’t need to know everything before you say anything.

As long as you are accurate and you do not speculate, a little information is better than no information and it is better than waiting until you know everything. Simply close the statement by saying,

Members of our team are gathering additional information and we will share that information with you as soon as possible.

Regarding #2, most crisis communications plans have holding statements. I like a feature in the SituationHub app called “The First Critical Statement.” Depending upon the situation, the app will ask you 10 to 20 questions, then based on your answers it will automatically write your holding statement. It covers the basics that all reporters want to know, such as who, what, when, and where. To the delight of your lawyers, why and how are addressed in sentences that deflect speculation. And to add a cherry on top of your news release statement, lawyers and executives can pre-approve the language the day you subscribe to the app, rather than on the day of your crisis when seconds count.

At the time we are writing this, SituationHub offers 50 to 75 detailed news releases for a variety of companies, including electric companies, chemical companies, credit unions and banks, schools and universities, and general businesses. We’re told that the app will be adding government and healthcare options next.

Regarding #3, a crisis communications drill lets you make mistakes in private, so you don’t make mistakes in public. This allows you to test your plan to make sure it works as designed. You also get to test the ability of your people to follow directions and evaluate who goes “off script.” You get to test your ability to mind the gap and close the gap with pre-written news release statements. You also get to test your spokespeople in mock news conferences.

Oh, and regarding spokespeople and news conferences, the SituationHub crisis communications software also generates a written script for spokespeople to read at a news conference. The script pre-answers questions before they are asked by reporters, thereby reducing the number of questions asked during the news conference.

In conclusion, the gap is closing on you because of social media. Take steps today to mind the gap by putting tools in place on a clear sunny day, in order to be your best on your darkest day.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

  • There are several good videos on the SituationHub page that show the app in action
  • Visit the BraudCast Channel on YouTube for tons of content
  • Dig through our blog for decades of content

The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

The crisis communications golden hour is all about the emphasis for companies in crisis to take bold, decisive steps in the first hour, in order to manage both the crisis and the public’s perception of the crisis.

But the crisis communications golden hour really needs to be reduced to the crisis communications golden minutes.

Have you heard about SituationHub.com? It is a new crisis communications software application that allows a company to quickly gather information about a crisis and generate a news release or crisis statement in 3 to 5 minutes.

SituationHub is a game-changer because it is the first time crisis communications can move at the speed of social media.

The flaw with the crisis communications golden hour concept is that Twitter and Facebook Live happen during the first minute of a crisis. SituationHub closes the gap because it automates the crisis communications process, and it automates the writing of a news release or crisis statement.

SituationHub has forced me to re-write my crisis communications plan template. For more than 25 years my crisis communications plans have evolved, but when one of my clients uses SituationHub, the first five chapters of my crisis communications plan becomes five sentences:

  • Log into SituationHub.com
  • Select your situation
  • Answer the questions
  • Alert your internal crisis team
  • Publish your statement for the media, employees, customers, and stakeholders

The One Hour Rule

Historically, we know that the longer it takes a company to issue a statement about a situation or crisis, the more damage that company is likely to experience to its revenue, reputation, and brand.

Historically, my crisis communications plans dictated that the user must issue a statement to the media, employees, and all stakeholders within one hour or less of the onset of the crisis going public.

That’s worked for me, but in the back of my mind I’ve been thinking, “That’s still 59 minutes after the first Tweet or Facebook post.”

The Three Hour Reality

I’ve studied crisis situations in my days as a television reporter and my second career in crisis communications. In most cases, more than three hours pass between the flashpoint of the situation and the release of the first statement. That is unacceptable!

Why is this?

  1. Most companies fail to write a proper crisis communications plan on a clear sunny day.
  2. Most companies fail to have a library of pre-written news releases for their crisis events. Hence, valuable time is lost writing a first draft statement, then having that statement marked up and edited by executives, then waiting for the second draft, then waiting for more edits, then releasing a final draft.

Hopefully, more organizations will discover SituationHub and turn the crisis communications golden hour into the crisis communications golden minutes.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

Ready or Reactionary? The SituationHub Master Class on Crisis Communications

How do you stack up?

PR News and CS&A International asked companies a simple question: Do you have a crisis management plan? Nearly 60 percent said they had a plan, yet only half of those plans were up-to-date. This means 70% of organizations are really just flying by the seat of their pants when a crisis strikes.

Why is this? We look behind the numbers and offer you fast, affordable solutions in this Master Class for Crisis Communications.

Your free access has been paid for by the team at SituationHub.com (SituationHub is the crisis communications app that can automatically write your crisis news release in as few as 3 minutes). Watch the recording here.

We’ll tackle this topic in 3 parts:

First, we’ll look at some surprising results from a survey on crisis communications. The survey was done by PR News and CS&A International.

Second, we’ll look behind the numbers and talk with the woman who conducted the survey, crisis expert Caroline Sapriel.

Third, we’ll give you a roadmap of best practices and challenge you to take at least one step toward preparedness.

When it comes to Ready or Reaction, see how your organization compares to others.

Then, set some goals to be one step closer to readiness.

As a bonus, schedule a confidential call to privately discuss your social media and crisis communications challenges by using  this link https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

This video asks the question, “Should a PR person prepare for a crisis or should they wing it and rely on hope?” You may know the obvious answer, but you might be surprised to know that too many PR professionals still wing their response to a crisis.

Planning it requires writing vulnerability assessments, writing a thorough crisis communications plan, and having a library of pre-written news releases. These are all time-consuming tasks. So how do you manage it all? We asked Melissa Russo, public relations professional for Coast Electric, to share her strategy for planning it, winging it, or hoping for the best.

Visit this link to enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by SituationHub.com.

Use this link to schedule a free, private call https://calendly.com/braud/15min

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit: https://www.situationhub.com/

More crisis communications articles:

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…”

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

They may sound totally different, but there are so many similarities in the ways that people deal with crises. There are so many crisis communications lessons we can learn from crises of the past, and present, to prepare for our future. Watch this video to learn to prepare for your crisis, to protect your reputation, revenue, and brand.

Use this link to schedule a free, private call: https://calendly.com/braud/15min

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit: https://www.situationhub.com/

Visit this link to enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by SituationHub.com.

More crisis communications articles:

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…”

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Crisis Communication Strategy: Never Waste a Good Crisis

Winston Churchill was quoted as saying, “Never waste a good crisis.” How does that apply to crisis communications, public relations, and you? Should you care what that statement means?

The truth is, there is always something to learn from a crisis. From crises, we can build our crisis management teams, we can learn to communicate more effectively based on what went wrong, we can prepare ourselves for the next crisis. Will you make your crisis a learning opportunity? Here is how:

Visit this link to enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by SituationHub.com.

More crisis communications articles:

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…”

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Is Social Media a Good Tool for Crisis Communications?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

When a crisis hits, should you be engaging on social media with your clients, customers, and stakeholders? Is it better to comment, provide updates, and feedback on social media or to stay silent? Is it the BEST crisis communications tool or just part of your communications toolbox?

As a crisis communications expert, I’m taking the pulse of two public relations professionals in the rural electric cooperative industry, to hear their experience with social media and how companies who have decided to use it, and who have decided not to use it have faired in the unique and individual crises they have faced.

To enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by SituationHub.com visit this link.

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…”

More crisis communications articles:

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Your October Assignment: The Truth About Vulnerability Assessments During COVID-19

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Sexiest, teasing headline you’ve ever read, huh? Makes you want to put on your old t-shirt that says, “Only Real Men & Women Do Regular Vulnerability Assessments.”

Joking aside, you need to get on this. Here is the how and why…

We’re 8-9 months into a crisis that should have ended somewhere in the 90 to 120 day range.

Early on, it was your only crisis to manage and for which you had to communicate. I’m proud of you. After the first surge of communications, many organizations fell into COVID fatigue. That was followed by COVID limbo.

But now COVID-19 is part of a compound crisis and it is your responsibility to assess the threats and vulnerabilities that your organization could face next.

Here’s What’s Changed

Generally in the world of public relations and crisis communications, an expert would say the first and the best thing you should do as part of the crisis communication process is to assess every vulnerability that could affect the revenue, reputation, and brand of your organization.

Your initial Vulnerability Assessment is Step 1, and it becomes your roadmap for your next four steps, which include:

  • Step 2: Writing your crisis communications plan
  • Step 3: Writing a library of pre-written statements for your employees, media, customers, community, and other stakeholders.
  • Step 4: Media training your spokespeople (including virtual training)
  • Step 5: Crisis communications drills (including virtual drills)

Traditionally you would do an initial Vulnerability Assessment, followed by quarterly meetings with managers to identify and prepare for new or emerging vulnerabilities. For example, COVID-19 was not really on anyone’s Vulnerability Assessment one year ago. Nine months ago at your quarterly meeting, COVID-19 and all of the issues around it should have been added to your list.

Once on the list, you would update your crisis communications plan if necessary, adding pre-written news releases for COVID-19 protocol, response, outbreaks, and potential fatalities.

More is Better

We’re now recommending to our clients that the frequency should be increased from quarterly to monthly, because most organizations are facing compound crises, such as COVID + hurricane, COVID + wildfires, COVID + you name it.

Would you like some additional resources?

  1. Watch today’s video. It has a clip from a crisis communications Master Class I recently taught for SituationHub.com
  2. Watch the entire Master Class
  3. Watch our 5-part video series on the five steps to effective crisis communications.
  4. Get help with your Vulnerability Assessment by scheduling a free, confidential phone call with us.

COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Please prepare for what comes next. Please step up the frequency of your Vulnerability Assessments.

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…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson