Understanding the audiences that a business needs to reach during an emergency, is one of the first steps in crisis communication.  Different audiences will have different information needs.  The challenge is to identify potential audiences, determine their need for information and then identify who within the business is best able to communicate with that audience.

  1. The Drummer – The media is a conduit to communicate key messages fast and efficiently.  The media is not your enemy.
  2. Communication – The first rule of crisis communication is to     communicate. The early hours of any crisis are critical to set the tone for management.Remaining silent or appearing removed, can be disengaging to key supporters when you need them most.  A balanced communications strategy protects corporate liability while satisfying the stakeholder demands for audience information.The public will judge management not by the incident itself — which they recognise is often beyond the control of those individuals — but by their response.
  1. The General – One of the more controversial roles of crisis management is that someone involved in a crisis must be prepared to empathise, even publicly apologise with stakeholders for the events that have transpired.  In nearly every situation this will be the CEO or Chair.
  2. The “WAR” room (Words and Reasons) – In crisis control over information is the key to resolving the situation not to lock it down but to respond. Update management with information from a wide variety of sources (media coverage, analyst comments, competitive intelligence, managers’ first-hand reports, etc.) with a response brief.
  3. The Captains – Create and train the crisis team before the crisis and establish management reporting lines to effectively communicate changes in the crisis.
  4. Battle Plans – Develop contingencies for the worst case scenarios, forecast possible consequences and determine plans of action.
  5. Communicate with the Troops  – Employees are your front-line in a crisis. They are your most important stakeholder after customers.
  6. Ambassadors – Create a network of advocates and supporters these can be customers and suppliers reaffirming their position.
  7.  Know the enemy – Research and focus groups provide essential information into public attitudes about where hidden issues may lie. Social media monitoring allows for immediate testing of customer responses and allows information to be provided quickly and effectively.
  8. Base camp – If circumstances warrant, create a “response” site to give quick, up-to-the-minute information and get the company’s story out.