The experts we talk to routinely stress the importance of having a crisis plan. Of course, as we all learned when writing papers in school, it's not enough simply to do the initial work—we must revise mindfully and make important adjustments.
Scott Rainone, managing partner at Fahrenheit Strategic Communications, realizes that attempting to appraise every aspect of your plan is intimidating and overwhelming, so in PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook, he recommends starting the evaluation process in stages by determining which components are most critical to your approach and your organization. Routine evaluation, he says, provides you an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of the plan and helps you allocate resources efficiently.
Excerpted here, Rainone's list of seven ways to find your starting point:
- Analyze if your plan is flexible enough to address challenges such as changes to crisis command location and availability of personnel and technology
- Determine your specific audiences, not just the public, and ones that might be impacted by an incident
- Test your potential messages with actual members of your audiences to determine if they resonate in the ways you intended
- Explore if your messages are best suited for the communication channels you have planned to use in a crisis
- Determine if your stakeholders are informed about a topic important to your organization that may arise and, if they are not, develop ways you might be able to inform them
- Explore who are the main contributors on your crisis team and if they have the training and resources needed to be able to succeed
- Use interviews, focus groups, and surveys to incorporate feedback from target audiences and others into the planning and evaluation processes
Looking for more crisis management tips? Walmart, the NFL Players Association and LEVICK will be dispensing must-hear advice in PR News' upcoming webinar Using Social to Protect Your Brand, August 31 at 1:30 eastern. Register today!
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