What Is Crisis Communication? A Guide for Beginners
Industries and businesses of all types and sizes are increasingly embracing issues and crisis communication planning.
In fact, an estimated 84 percent of organizations have an emergency communication plan in place, according to the Business Continuity Institute. Fifty-five percent use three or more emergency communication processes.
And yet, nearly two-thirds say they are not confident about their preparedness for a crisis event.
So, while organizations recognize the importance of issues and crisis communication, and are investing heavily in related processes, they feel as unprepared as ever.
To understand the disconnect, let us take a closer look at the basics of issues and crisis communication.
What is crisis communication?
Crisis communication refers to the technologies, systems and protocols that enable an organization to effectively communicate during a major threat to its business or reputation.
Organizations must be prepared for a wide range of potential crises, including extreme weather, crime, cyber-attacks, product recalls, corporate malfeasance, reputation crises, and PR incidents.
Preparing ahead of time for a crisis ensures that relevant personnel can quickly and effectively communicate with each other during moments of threat, sharing information that allows the organization to quickly rectify the situation, protect customers, employees and assets, and ensure business continuity.
Who needs crisis communication?
Companies of all sizes, in all industries, face a growing number of threats. Due to the instantaneous nature of the online news media, it is more important than ever for organizations to be able to respond quickly and confidently instantly when a crisis emerges.
Crisis communication is designed to connect a variety of audiences to each another, such as:
- Crisis management team
- PR team
- IT team
- Department heads
- Security personnel
- Local police & first responders
- Government officials
How is crisis communication done well?
Although the ideal approach to crisis communication is slightly different for each organization, several best practices have emerged that can be helpful in establishing your program:
Communication should be in real time.
This ensures that employees and other stakeholders have access to the most up-to-date information as the emergency unfolds.
- Communication Should Be In Real Time: This ensures that employees and other stakeholders have access to the most up-to-date information as the emergency unfolds.
- Information Should Be Accessible Anywhere: Emails and manual phone trees are ineffective for crisis communications when employees may be away from their desks. Both are ineffective during a power failure. It is more effective to communicate using mobile technology, which goes where the user goes.
- Messages Should Be Relevant To The Individual: Not every employee should receive every message during an emergency. Response time will slow down if team members are flooded with irrelevant information. Ideally, your system should be able to target specific individuals and departments to ensure the most pertinent information gets to those who need it most.
Thanks to the mass adoption of smartphones, mobile crisis management apps enable employees to receive emergency notifications in real-time communication in any location and at any time of day.
The crisis management team can instantaneously update relevant information throughout the duration of the situation.
As a result, people at every level of your organization are equipped with the right information, at precisely the moment they need it most. This streamlines emergency response, helps protect people, keep physical and digital assets safe and minimizes lost productivity.