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The Importance of a Crisis Communications Plan

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

A Crisis Communications Plan: An Insurance Policy for your Brand

Data breaches, natural disasters, IT meltdowns or some other major business continuity disruptions are the kinds of crises that keep leaders awake at night. But what about the things that leaders can’t imagine? Recent history shows that companies, even with the best intentions, can unwittingly get jolted into a crisis. The advent of social media and the speed that information, or misinformation, can travel has made the notion of crisis communications management imminently more complex and potentially catastrophic to a brand. Like an insurance policy, a crisis communications plan is easy to take for granted until you need it. Having a crisis communications plan also sends a strong message that you care deeply about your employees, clients, members and donors.

In today’s climate, a crisis communications plan is imperative. Any organization that does not have one in place and ready to go at a moment’s notice might soon realize that the brand equity they so carefully crafted and curated can dissolve overnight.

Components of a Crisis Communications Plan

A crisis communications plan exists as a remarkably valuable resource to be referred to as incidents and issues arise. In the event of a crisis, it becomes a playbook and a bastion of structure and confidence amongst the complexity of a rapidly unfolding scenario. There are many detailed elements to developing a solid crisis communications plan, but the following represents the most important components:

  • Preventing crises by mitigating incidents and/or issues before they become crises.

  • ID if it’s an incident, issue or crisis.

  • Establishing a Crisis Communications Team.

  • Crisis Classification: Is it operational or brand reputation, and what is the risk/threat level for each?

  • Decision-Making Tree.

  • Internal Communications Matrix.

  • Spokespeople, Key Messages and Message Templates.

  • Media Management.

  • Internal Notifications Plan.

  • Ongoing Situation Updates.

  • After-Action Review.

Crisis communications plans can be developed for a specific scenario, such as a data breach or anything that represents a catastrophic disruption to the business. A turnkey plan can also be constructed that has all the essential components of an effective plan that can serve as a handbook for whatever crisis may arise. We live in an increasingly complex world with fast and easily accessible communications via new and social media. A crisis communications plan is imperative to ensure that the reputation, goodwill and positive brand perception of an organization that took years to establish does not evaporate overnight in the face of a crisis.

Don’t be caught without your crisis communications plan in place. Contact our team of media professionals today to help you create a plan that will turn a negative into a positive! Email us today at We would love to hear from you!

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