Coronavirus Crisis Communications Plan Truths
Here we are entering the middle of summer, where we can reflect on and learn from the unprecedented crises that have taken place in the past few months. As the crises unfolded, I wrote about how you can communicate more effectively in these various situations. Let’s look back at where we’ve been this Spring, and examine what rings true for crisis communications, corporate communications, and protecting your revenue, reputation, and brand today.
At the first signs of the Coronavirus, in this blog, I warned companies to get professional media training and to assess the vulnerabilities of their particular organization. I explained that by preparing for the crisis, you could show your executive leadership team you are thinking ahead and thinking on their behalf. Watch the video here:
As the pandemic unfolded I advised in this blog that the answer is YES, you do NEED a crisis communications plan for COVID-19 and other vulnerabilities, and provided 5 steps to write a crisis plan:
I continued to provide update after update, even discussing how to do virtual media interviews, since they were suddenly a MUST, and we all needed to learn to adapt and communicate in a new way.
Finally, I addressed the truth that no one wanted to address. I predicted this pandemic would likely last through the summer, and it became clear that we would not only need to manage the Coronavirus, but we would also need to manage Coronavirus + Tornado (that later ripped through my hometown), or Coronavirus + Weather Events as we entered hurricane season (we were hit later by Cristobal), AND the crises that our organizations are always vulnerable to – such as explosions, fires, power outages, crime, social media firestorms, and more. You can read the blog here.
In this blog in May, I warned that the issue of wearing masks vs. not wearing masks could spur on political issues, protests, and outrage among our country.
As protests took over our country, I was quiet. Social media and the internet was too noisy, too complicated, and too hostile for a time. The point now is not to say “I told you so,” but to acknowledge that when one crisis hits, we have to be prepared, and that we have to prepare for all of the regular challenges and crises that can occur in addition to that initial crisis.
Hopefully, by reflecting on the last few months, you are more motivated now than ever to prepare. You have work to do. It’s challenging to write a crisis communications plan. It’s challenging to think about such tragic events that could happen to your company. But as we can see, they do happen, they can last for months, and they can pile on top of each other.
I’ve broken down
How to write a crisis plan in 5 steps:
1. Start with analyzing the vulnerabilities of your company to certain crises.
2. Write a thorough crisis plan that addresses and outlines every last detail.
3. Write pre-written news releases that you can deliver to the media and the public in less than one hour.
4. Have your spokespeople and your leadership team professionally media trained.
5. Conduct realistic crisis drills.
This can all be done virtually, and I’m here to help.
This 5-part video series outlining the 5 Steps to a Crisis Communications Plan can make your path easier. Schedule a call with me so that I can walk you through it or answer any questions you might have.
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