Last year, on what started out as a lazy Saturday January morning in Hawaii, an official alert began flooding TV and radio airways and cellphones at 8:00 a.m. warning of an incoming ballistic missile threat. The alert concluded “This is not a drill.” It took 17 stress-filled minutes before the “false alarm” was finally issued by the governor. He later admitted that he knew within the first two minutes that it was an error, but he couldn’t hop on Twitter and tell everybody — because he didn’t know his password and couldn’t locate it.
Though that’s an extreme example of the dangers of not being prepared, it serves as a good reminder of how something simple like knowing where your passwords are stored can save you in a crisis. Enhancing digital security is just one of our top tips for what should be in your crisis communications plan.
Here are some others:
- Know who your crisis team is and how to reach them — a crisis doesn’t wait for normal work hours, so make sure you can retrieve cell phone numbers for key people.
- Brainstorm likely crisis scenarios and develop messaging around each one.
- Prepare your spokespeople to speak with the media. Conduct practice sessions and videotape your spokespeople. Get them comfortable with potentially hostile questions.
- Get out in front of the story, but don’t get out in front of your employees. Publicly acknowledge there’s a problem and you’re working to resolve it, but even before that, make sure your employees are aware of the situation and what your response will be.
- Implement social listening. Set up Google Alerts for your organization name, your executive director’s name and your branded programs so you are aware of any media mentions. This can serve as an early-warning system for potential crises.
To learn more about what you need to do to get ready for the inevitable (it’s not if but when), watch our webinar on how to prepare your organization for a crisis and what to do when one occurs.
You can also download the presentation here.
We’d love to help your organization prepare for or weather a crisis. E-mail Kristen@thehatchergroup.com now for more information.