Every organization needs a Media Crisis Plan to identify who does and says what, when the cameras, microphones, and notebooks start sprouting.
A Media Crisis Plan isn’t just for disasters. It also deals with sudden positive developments which, if not handled properly, can turn into public relations disasters.
It might be obvious to say but every airline, railroad company, oil tanker shipper, and every high profile politician in the world has a media crisis plan.
But there are few organizations that couldn’t benefit from one.
When all hell is breaking loose in the middle of the night and your Chair and Directors are besieged in their homes by packs of journalists and the stock price is teetering a the edge of a cliff and delay is fatal and any mistake in dealing with the media and the public is suicide.
A proper plan will set out who says what in an crisis, what information is released, how quickly, and how to stay ahead of events. It will include contact lists, information packages, and clear descriptions of how potential disasters might be handled.
I’m not talking spin, evasion, or manipulation here. A proper crisis plan has at its heart the realization that the sooner information can be made public, the more genuinely open and honest the organization can be, and the sooner misinformation can be corrected, the better off things will be.
If you try to hide, lie, spin, stall or misinform during a crisis you will be found out and there will be hell to pay. (See this list of tips)
The Crisis Plan should be part of your Strategic Plan and like it, it should be reviewed and game planned every few months.
Get one done before you need it because if you have to call in someone like me you won’t like what the work will cost.