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Where is Your Crisis Communications Funnel Clogged?

When we think about effectively communicating in a crisis, we often think about getting out information FAST, like at the speed of Twitter fast. But, we have so many hangups that get in the way of getting that information out.

Tell us where your clog is when it comes to your crisis communications funnel? Experience tells me it gets clogged in one of three, critical places listed below. So which of these affects you the most?

 

Do you have the most trouble:

 

  1. Getting the initial information from the source of the emerging situation or potential crisis?

 

  1. Getting leaders to quickly send that information to the crisis communications or public relations team?

 

  1. Getting approval (from your boss, your leadership team, your CEO, your legal team) of your final statement or news release, to share with employees, the media, and/or your stakeholders.

 

  1. Other…

 

Please format your answer as follows:

 

In my crisis communications funnel, the biggest clog can usually be found ____ .

 

The funnel is the pathway in which you gather information about an unfolding situation, get it to the right people, and then issue a statement to your employees, media, and stakeholders. See here: 

 

If you are not familiar with the Crisis Communications Funnel concept, or if issuing a public statement sounds stressful, daunting, or challenging for you just call me https://calendly.com/braud/15min and I’ll gladly point you to more resources. 

 

 

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:

Spring Sprint for a Crisis Communications Plan

How to do an Online Media Interview: Media Training Tips

How Do You Sleep at Night Without a Crisis Communication Plan?

 

 

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Spring Sprint for a Crisis Communications Plan

Complete a huge task in less than five days. Complete a daunting task in less than five days.

Traditionally, companies set up endless meetings and an inflated collaboration process. People will spend three months to two years talking about the “process” and never really create a usable set of crisis management tools. And during the drawn-out process, a crisis might hit and everyone is still unprepared. They have no tools in their toolbox; only notes from those endless meetings.

Does that sound familiar? If it does, let’s stop that vicious cycle and start sprinting through the crisis communications process.

Run. Don’t walk. Deadlines will always be there. Annual meetings will always be there. Let them lie.

Doing crisis communications effectively can take a long time; a really long time. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s do it faster. Let’s find a better way. Let’s sprint! What better time than Spring? It’s after the holidays and before the summer holidays, so your team should be more in tune.

A “sprint” is a process for solving big problems and tackling big tasks in five days or less. It’s about both efficiency and focus.

To simplify your goalsetting and ability to accomplish tasks, you have to break them down into smaller, faster, more achievable tasks. That’s why I created the Five Steps to Effective Crisis Communications.

What would take your company or organization months to complete, you can now complete in five days or less, with a crisis communications sprint. Here are all of the Five Steps to Effective Crisis Communications you can complete virtually or in person:

Crisis Vulnerability Assessment

Here is when you ask yourself and your team, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Your roadmap to crisis communications begins as you imagine and evaluate all the situations that could go wrong. We are ready to partner with you to harvest insights from your team. Ask about our one-day Vulnerability Assessment Sprint to begin your crisis communications planning.

Crisis Communications Plan

Ask yourself, as a situation unfolds, “Can my organization take control in the first few minutes?” The best crisis communications plan plots every step before, during, and after a crisis. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Our “sprint” crisis communications system can put a plan in place in one day.

Crisis Pre-written Statements

When you think about writing a public statement, do you get bogged down with second-guessing, word-smithing, and fighting with your legal team, team members, or boss over commas? Save time by using our library of pre-written statements for the media, employees, customers, and stakeholders. Ask about our pre-written statement sprint, which can be delivered in one day.

Crisis Spokesperson Media Training

One misplaced word can be costly.  When revenue, reputation, and brand are on the line, there is no margin for error.  We’ve seen companies lose hundreds of millions of dollars in a 12-second sound bite. Our crisis communications media training gets your spokespeople prepared to handle tough questions on your toughest day.

Crisis Communication Drills

Do you routinely test your crisis management team, crisis communications plan, and spokespeople? Practice makes perfect.  A crisis drill allows you to make mistakes in private so you never make those mistakes on the day of your crisis. Add a virtual crisis drill to your crisis communications sprint commitment.

We care about your reputation, revenue, and brand. We hope you do too.

Here is your sprint roadmap. Would you like us to sprint with you?

To set goals, talk about your needs, and formulate a budget, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

 

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:

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

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by Steven Lelham on Unsplash

How Do You Sleep at Night Without a Crisis Communication Plan?

Some professional communicators get it. They want to be prepared. They have statements ready for the public in a crisis. They are trained as spokespeople or have their team members ready to be on camera. They have a crisis communication plan on file that they can refer to quickly in a crisis. They have sought approval and funding from their executives on proper crisis communication planning.

In this video, we ask public relations professional for Coast Electric, Melissa Russo, “Should a PR person prepare for a crisis or should they wing it and rely on hope?” Of course, the answer sounds obvious, but you might be surprised to know that too many PR professionals still wing their response to a crisis.

Melissa explains how she plans for effective crisis communications in the video here:

 

 

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/

 

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

Crisis Communications Podcast: Be Prepared to Protect Your Revenue, Reputation, and Brand

In this crisis communications podcast, CEO of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association Holly Alfano interviews me about the often overlooked piece of running a business: crisis communications and preparation.

How is a crisis defined? Ask, “Will this event affect our company’s revenue, reputation, and brand?” Stop thinking of only situations such as a fire, a pandemic, or a hurricane. Start thinking of the vulnerabilities of your specific business. Start thinking about your CEO taking a photo with the wrong person, at the wrong time. Start thinking about one of your employees saying the wrong thing on social media.

Start thinking about who should be your spokesperson in a crisis. It may not be who you would expect. Stop thinking a crisis won’t happen to you. Start thinking, if this happens to me, to our company, to our organization, do we have the crisis communication tools to respond and communicate quickly?

In case this sounds overwhelming or stressful, thankfully, there are five simple steps to manage a crisis effectively. Just five steps. And thankfully, there is an automated software that can help you communicate to your clients, customers, employees, and stakeholders in a crisis.

  1. Vulnerability Assessment
  2. Crisis Communications Plan
  3. Library of Pre-written news releases (Use SituationHub.com)
  4. Spokesperson media training
  5. Crisis communications drill

If these sound foreign to you, we take a deep dive into these five steps in the podcast.

Listen to the podcast here.

To set goals, talk about your needs, and formulate a budget, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

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:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

3 Crisis Communications Master Class Recordings to Listen to Before the New Year

The year is almost over, and you may be asking yourself, what have I learned? What would I do differently? Have I prepared my organization for effective crisis communications?

Sure, it’s the busiest time of year. Thankfully, as you are wrapping presents, making Christmas cookies, and trimming the tree, you can pop in your Airpods and learn on the go. Although we hosted many crisis communications Master Classes this year, here are just three you can mark off your bucket list and not feel overwhelmed by the task or what you learned. Consider it our gift to you.

Crisis Communications Master Class: Change the Way You Write

The world has changed and so must you.

The world doesn’t have time to read what you wrote. Yet, you need the world to comprehend your message. So, what’s the secret?

Use this link to access the replay.

You’ll learn 10 reasons why you should change how you write a crisis communications statement.

Crisis Communications Master Class – The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

Minutes and seconds count in a crisis. 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.

Use this link to access the content.

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

Facebook Crisis Communication Lessons

The Facebook crisis communications lessons are many. The explosive interview on 60 Minutes and the testimony before Congress from whistleblower Frances Haugen confirms and reinforces the crisis communication lessons we discussed in the SituationHub Master Class that originally aired live on March 11, 2021. The Master Class is called The Social Media Conundrum. You’ll want to watch that program, in which we zeroed in on why Facebook’s algorithms are built against you in a crisis.  

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…”

Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

Crisis News Release Reality: This Scares Me

With Halloween on the horizon, I thought I’d confess something that frightens me. The question is, am I more frightened than you?

It scares me to think how many companies are ill-prepared to communicate quickly with the media and their employees when they have a crisis. Boom – fire, explosion, workplace shooting, chemical release, natural disaster…

Does it scare you? It should. But most companies kick this can down the road. Being prepared is not a high priority. They think they will just magically figure it out as all hell is breaking loose. Yea… that never works. It’s frightening åhow many executives think this way.

It frightens me so much that I spent four years building an app called SituationHub.com.

In one to three minutes it can automatically write a crisis news release. Most ill-prepared companies take three to four hours to get a first statement out.

We have two months left in 2021. How about you set a goal for us to talk about how SituationHub can take away the fear for all those crises that can keep you up at night.

In the age of social media, you have only minutes to get communications out to the world. Can you get a message out in minutes? If you wait more than a few minutes, the media and social media can destroy you, your revenue, your reputation, and brand.

That should frighten you. But does it scare you enough to take action?

Use this link to schedule a time for us to talk.

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:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

Pumpkin Spice Crisis Communications

Pumpkin spice crisis communications is the latest craze among companies, CEOs, and public relations professionals. These are people who realize that Fall is here. We’re in the final quarter of the year, and they have failed to meet their goal of completing a crisis communications plan, their crisis communications news releases, their crisis drills, and the other components of their crisis communications strategies.

To welcome Fall and to embrace whatever panic you may have, we’re ready to help you sprint through the 5 Steps of Effective Crisis Communications. Just smell the aroma of rich crisis communications plan nutmeg, cinnamon news releases, ginger media training, and accents of cloves in your crisis communications drill!

Your challenge is to take a huge task – Crisis Communications – and make that task easy and fast. Fortunately, we pioneered this concept for you back in 2005. We figured out a way to let you customize a crisis communications plan in… you ready for this? Drum roll… five hours.

Yep, you can have a finished plan in five hours as we sprint through the process. (Of course, the secret pumpkin spice ingredient is that we’ve put more than 25 years of experience and more than 6,000 hours into development, just so you can create crisis communications magic in five hours.)

Sure, you can cook up your own crisis communications plan if you have 2,000 to 4,000 hours sitting on your spice rack… and who doesn’t? But if you don’t have the extra time, our Crisis Communications Sprint system is like pulling a box of carrot cake mix off the shelf in the morning and having a perfect crisis communications plan finished before dinner.

Your crisis communications plan is Step 2 of the 5 Steps. On the front end, you need to conduct a Vulnerability Assessment to evaluate all the “stuff” that might “hit the fan.” That’s Step 1.

The secret sauce to your crisis communications plan should be having a deep library of pre-written news releases. That’s Step 3. We have 100 pre-written news releases with your name on it. However, for some of you, your best bet is to subscribe to the SituationHub crisis communications news release app. SituationHub can actually write an advanced crisis communications news release in 3-5 minutes.

Some of you realize your greatest need to train your spokespeople. We call that Step 4, but often it is a perfect standalone training class. A single misplaced word can damage a company’s revenue, reputation, and brand in ways that are as foul as putting dill in your pumpkin spice mix.

The icing on the cake is Step 5, when you conduct a Crisis Communications Drill. That’s when you get to test your crisis communications plan, your crisis communications news release, you get to test your spokespeople, and you get to test the ability of your entire team to work together. A crisis communications drill can be agonizing and exhilarating all at the same time. Most importantly, it lets you make mistakes in private so you can correct them in private, without ever making those mistakes in public.

So, what is your next step? How about a free discovery call to discuss your specific needs?

Pull up a chair, order a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and how about you and I chat about your Pumpkin Spice Crisis Communications needs?

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:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

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:

Crisis Communications – Customizable Keynote Speech “Silver Linings in Muddy Waters”

In this keynote presentation, I’m looking at how communications can change EVERYTHING. 

New Orleans suffered one of the worst disasters we have seen in this country, or even worldwide. Through my personal experiences with Hurricane Katrina, I am sharing some of the ramifications of when we only think about the sunny days of our businesses, companies, and organizations, versus preparing for our darkest days.

I’m examining the mindset of leaders who are in decision paralysis, denial, who are arrogant for thinking they can “wing it.” There are too many business leaders and political leaders who are not protecting themselves from disasters, who blame everyone else for failures. In this keynote, I describe how communications could have changed everything and how preparing could have saved lives.

Every crisis is a living classroom. We should never “waste” the opportunity to study what went right and what went wrong, but more importantly, how to do our best in the future.

Always remember, for every tragedy, there is a heart, soul, and spirit that needs recovery. As a business leader, you are responsible for getting your team, clients, and stakeholders there. There is a silver lining in muddy waters. There are both smiles and tears. For more on that, watch the video.

To set goals and talk about your needs for effective crisis communications, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

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:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Crisis Communications and the Volatile Customer on Social Media

We don’t often associate customer service with crisis communications. However, in the age of social media, a single unhappy customer can quickly damage a brand’s revenue and reputation.

Over the years in this blog, we have reviewed countless case studies of how customers on social media have leveled serious allegations against companies. Cancel culture is the latest variation of what we’ve long called “The Volatile Customer.”

Social media gives unhappy customers a platform to becoming more volatile in their criticism of your brand. Volatile doesn’t need to imply physical harm, because words and complaints and truths going viral can fan the flames of volatility. A great brand treats an upset customer with care before they reach the point of lashing out on social media. Good customer service turns your volatile customer into a brand ambassador. You want brand ambassadors.

A single, angry “volatile” Tweet or post on Facebook can go viral, creating the opportunity for more and more people see the post and chime in. They relate to the post. They share their own, bad, customer service experience with the brand. Soon, the conversation explodes. The criticism can’t be silenced.

In the world of crisis communications, some people will push this off as issues management. Others say it falls into customer service. Some think the social media team should handle this.

We suggest you treat every dissatisfied customer as a potentially volatile customer who can convert an unhappy customer experience into a monumental crisis. Your organization needs to have a team ready to handle this sort of situation. A proper crisis communications plan can be your guide in managing the expectations of your audience.

We’re putting this topic front and center in the coming years, because a volatile customer can do unlimited damage to revenue, reputation and brand. That’s why we’ve launched our newest keynote, “The Volatile Customer.”

If your team generally focuses on sales and customer service, they need to be aware that Cancel Culture is just one bad customer experience away.

To schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me to discuss your organization’s vulnerabilities to volatile customers on social media visit https://calendly.com/braud/15min

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:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash