The 10 Ways That Technology Strengthens Your New Crisis Plan in 2017

The 10 Ways That Technology Strengthens Your New Crisis Plan in 2017.jpg

There is a growing swirl of bafflement around the PR industry’s inability to adopt new technology to become more effective.

I read a recent interview with the CISION CEO Kevin Akeroyd, who observed that when it comes to technology, the PR industry is in the dark ages, particularly with regard to measurement and results metrics.For a long time, investing in an up-to-date crisis plan and the technology to support it was one of those items that every year starts out on an organization’s annual to-do list but once the hard realities of budget planning hit home, it often does not make the cut.

This led me to believe that it was only in crisis planning that organizations have a technology blind spot.

However, in early July, the industry’s professional group, the PRSA, released a survey that illustrated that communicators’ aversion to new technology runs deep, for example:

  • Most still use email to communicate, even though barely a quarter of PR folks think it is the best way to communicate externally.
  • Mobile devices have not replaced the computer and more than 60 per-cent reported that it was hard to reach their company intranet via mobile.

That second point, the over reliance on the computer and the hard-to-access intranet, should send shivers down the spine of crisis managers.

The speed at which an issue emerges, blooms and becomes a full-blown crisis requires a wholly different response than in years gone by. Organizations must deploy modern mobile digital techniques and tools in their crisis defenses.

Here are ten ways technology strengthens your crisis response planning:

  1. MONITORING ISSUES: Identify, monitor and track emerging issues and threats.
  2. MASS ALERTS: Ability to alert large numbers of people in your organization of a threat.
  3. SOCIAL MEDIA: For response and corrections to what others are posting, and for communicating your side of the story.
  4. ACCESS AND ACTIVATION: The iPhone is everyone’s pocket – that binder on a dusty office shelf is not.
  5. ROLL CALL DURING A CRISIS: The ability for people to check in and report themselves safe.
  6. TEAM COLLABORATION: Slack is one trendy example, there are others.
  7. EVALUATING THE DEPTH OF THE THREAT: Tools which track an issue, who’s talking about it, what’s the mood and how fast it is spreading.
  8. TRAINING THE CRISIS TEAM: Nothing gives the frenetic feel of what it’s like to be in a real crisis then to have a threat scenario workshop take place virtually rather than on flip charts and PowerPoint
  9. BACK UP TO YOUR IT SYSTEMS: So how do you respond to a crisis if the problem is one that severely affects your IT systems (ask British Airways and Delta!)?
  10. EVALUATION POST-CRISIS: Aside from formal evaluation tools, a digital footprint of your response holds valuable learnings for the next time.