Updating of Crisis Management & Crisis Communication Response Plans

36322_3149Got a call from someone asking for some help and/or a checklist on how to update their crisis crisis communication response plan.

Without giving away all my knowledge for free (Hey – I also need to make money), I referred the prospective client to my Crisis Management & Crisis Communication Response Toolkit, I shared this:

1. Take a close look at all the other plans in the company – Emergency Response, Health & Safety, Disaster Recovery, Security & Business Continuity plans. Each of these have communication components which you may want to incorporate.

2. Take a close look at definitions. The words transparency, disclosure and public opinion needs to be carefully defined and brainstormed. For instance, transparency is affected by close periods(share trading), laws and regulations and stakeholders perceptions. By voluntary, mandatory and involuntary responses like WikiLeaks moments.

3. Compare your Crisis Communication plan to best practice when it comes to strategic communications planning. Some tips:

Who are your target audiences? Writing a Crisis Plan is a Strategic Communications & Stakeholder Management planning exercise.

My advice would be to proceed as follows:

  • Diagnose the current state of communication including the key messages and main targets /stakeholder groups. With other words who needs to know what? What do they know already, etc.?
  • Identify key stakeholders or your target audience. Segment key stakeholders groupings.
  • Identify contact points i.e. best points or places to reach your target audience.
  • Develop communication strategy – now only do you decide on the methods and media to use.
  • Identify communication objectives for each target audience/stakeholder.
  • Select media best positioned to deliver the message. Take a look at both basic methods as well as social media technologies.
  • Develop message strategy for each target audience (stakeholder).
  • Decide on implementation strategy (Tactics).
  • Compile a Communication- Strategy Matrix.
  • Do a Budget.
  • Implement & Deliver messages
  • Monitor, evaluate and adjust communication program as necessary

For me the biggest problem occurs when people immediately think of the tools to communicate with.

By thinking through this process you will include measurement and delivery evaluation techniques, therefore ensuring impact of message and return on investment.