What do you do when Trump slams your company in a tweet? If you don’t have an up to date crisis communications plan, it is already too late. Develop a plan of action now!
Just a few short months ago, I couldn’t imagine even one company having a plan that read: “When the President of the United States slams our company in a tweet this is what we will do.” But we are living in a new world and the chances of this happening are legit.
CNN’s Brian Stelter recently reported about discussions happening during the Consumer Electronics trade show in Las Vegas between tech company executives about their plans for this exact scenario. Especially with the added complication of many of these companies being on the west coast, three hours behind Washington, DC and New York City. Given the habits of these damaging tweets occurring during the 6 a.m. ET hour, most of the executives for these tech companies, along with their entire emergency response team, would be sound asleep at 3 a.m. PT.
I, personally, was part of the team assembled at Fannie Mae specifically to address the housing crisis. I traveled all over the country for nearly five years meeting face to face with thousands of distressed homeowners and executives from the largest banks and lending companies. It was my responsibility to speak to the media on a daily basis on the current status of our country’s housing market. There are some of us who simply make work out of running towards the fire. I thrive from the 3 a.m. phone call.
It is my goal to prepare as many companies, big and small, to answer the call, prepared and ready to address the issue. Because, regardless of topic, industry or political affiliation, there is no excuse for not being prepared.
Establishing a crisis communications plan? Here are the 6 most critical actions to take now:
- Scenarios: Play devil’s advocate and think through the 3–5 most common, worst-case and likely scenarios for your business. (Bad press, workplace violence, Presidential tweet from hell, etc.)
- Identify Response Team: Who is part of your Tier 1 emergency team? Define their roles and accountabilities before, during and after the crisis.
- Holding statements: Draft potential statements for each situation and be sure to consider all your audiences (Customers, employees, etc.).
- Response Threshold: When is it appropriate to act and in what manner. This will also determine how you define a “true crisis.”
- Monitoring: Set up the appropriate social media monitoring for specific keywords and names, which will alert you to an issue or growing attention to a specific topic.
- Contact List: Develop a contact list and keep it up to date. This should include internal and external contacts as well as media.
The IntersectionPR team is ready to develop your organization’s crisis plan. Call us now, before you get your 3 a.m. call.
Keosha Burns is the Principal Consultant at IntersectionPR, a public relations and social strategy group in Washington, D.C., focusing on dynamic and authentic storytelling.