As you may have seen on our social media pages, LPR has participated in two significant crisis response drills in the past two weeks. Since we specialize in communications for the oil and gas and transportation industries, these drills aren’t new to us. But, in our opinion, you can never be too prepared for a crisis. Crises aren’t exclusive to these higher risk industries. They come in all shapes and sizes, including data breaches, scandals, lawsuits and accidents that can affect any business. Here are a few things to keep in mind in preparing your business for a crisis.
Have a plan in place…and practice it at least twice a year.
Crisis response plans are meaningless if they aren’t practiced, updated and shared with team members on a regular basis. Is your crisis plan on your company shared drive? Does everyone know where it is? Is it saved to your local computer in case the network goes down?
Designate a spokesperson…and a few backups.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to preparing and training a spokesperson. Make sure several of your key leaders are equipped to respond on a number of crisis scenarios and create a designated chain of command to eliminate uncertainty.
Know your key messages.
In a crisis event, every second counts. Develop key message points for potential crisis scenarios in advance, so you don’t have to waste precious time starting from scratch. Companies that communicate quickly and decisively under pressure appear much more in control of a situation than companies that stay silent in the hours immediately following an incident.
Don’t forget about logistics.
Do you have an emergency operations center or a place (other than your office) where you can organize your response team, speak to the media and plan your next move? Is it equipped with everything you need, including reliable Internet and backup connectivity? In one of the drill scenarios last week, we had to operate without cell phone service for about two hours. It wasn’t easy, but we came up with a few backup options that will be very helpful if we lose cell service during a real incident.
While it can be difficult to take time away from usual operations, planning for a crisis can save a business’ valuable time and money, as well as its reputation. Be prepared!