By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC
A public relations professional reached out to me to acquire a license to my Crisis Communications Plan. The company was all set to make the purchase to use my plan. Then the CEO asked, “Why do we need a crisis communications plan? Can’t we just figure this out on the day that something happens?”
The PR team asked me, “How do we make a strong case for crisis planning with our boss?” I created an entire web page to help them make the case. It may help you.
How to Make a Strong Case for Crisis Planning to Your Boss?
1) Identify the industry you are in.
2) Identify something in that industry that has policies and standard operating procedures that are written and designed to be followed.
Make your case that just as other teams have written, standard operating procedures that need to be followed, so too must the public relations and communications team have a written set of standard operating procedures.
For example, in a chemical plant, if a specific chemical is released there are written policies and procedures that the Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) teams in the field and in the control room follow in order to stop the leak and recover from the situation.
Just as those teams have a policy and procedure, so should the communications team.
3) Another way to make a strong case for crisis planning with your boss is to conduct a Vulnerability Assessment. You can learn more about this in my free 5-part video series on the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, by registering here.
A Vulnerability Assessment is the first of 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications. Spend time with your boss and the executive leadership team listing all of the things that could go wrong in your business that would require communications with employees, the media, customers, and stakeholders.
If you define a crisis as any event that can damage your reputation and revenue, your Vulnerability Assessment should list all of those things.
Next, pick any one of those things and put a price tag on the amount of revenue a company might lose if that event happened. Take that single dollar amount, and budget it toward a Crisis Communications Plan and the entire 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications.
In other words, taking the steps to prepare on a clear sunny day for the crisis that might befall you on your darkest day should more than pay for itself.
One final note: Your boss might simply say, “Why don’t you do this? Why do we need to hire someone else? That’s what we pay you for.”
Your answer should begin with an outline of how much time it takes to write a crisis communications plan and a library of pre-written news releases. The plan that I license to clients along with more than 100 news pre-written news releases took me 4,000 hours to perfect. To break that down in a 40-hour work week, it would take you 100 weeks – two years of work – to do it on your own.
So the response to your boss should be, “Sure, we can do that. Would you like me to put everything else on hold for two years to complete this, would you like me to hire a new employee for two years to do this, or would you like me to call Gerard Braud and we can have this done in two days?” (Shameless plug)
How to Make a Strong Case for Crisis Planning to Your Boss? Look at the dollars and cents in order to make sense.
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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