5 “Must Dos” During the First Hours of a Crisis

We frequently receive calls from companies both in Utah and around the country that are in crisis. From experience, 90+ percent have no form of crisis planning or preparation. While the lesson learned should be a small investment in crisis planning pays big dividends, what should you do if you find yourself in this position?

The first step should be to take a step back and address the following questions:

1. Who are our key audiences impacted and what is the priority for communication?

Many companies immediately become engrossed in how to respond to the media while ignoring employees, customers and other key stakeholders. While time is of the essence and it’s generally imperative to provide the press with an initial response, the way in which you communicate with your key audiences can be the difference between success and failure.

2. Who will communicate with key audiences and what approvals are necessary?

Determine who internally will communicate with each audience and provide appropriate material and expectations as far as timing and approvals.

3. Who will serve as our media point person and spokesperson(s)?

Assign one person to be the conduit for all media. Work to stay consistent with the personnel assigned to these positions.

4. Have we informed (or reiterated to) our employees of our media protocol/policy?

Be sure to inform employees of the media point person and policy that all press should be directed to this individual and instructions on how to refer inquiries accordingly.

5. Do we need to inform any regulatory agencies?

Failing to inform regulatory parties in a timely manner can often result in serious consequences, including being publicly reprimanded.

The best offense is a good defense. Proactively planning for potential crisis situations mitigates fallout and reassures employees, stakeholders and clients. If you are hit with a crisis, it’s typically a good idea to engage a crisis expert as soon as possible to help you navigate the situation and respond in the best manner possible.