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Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Crisis

By August 30, 2021 No Comments

PR and reputational crises are inevitable, but lack of preparation is not. The planning you do now, long before the proverbial fire alarm is pulled, can make all the difference.

Cerrell prides itself on not only stepping in to support our clients’ communications needs at a moment’s notice but also helping prepare them for future potential crisis situations through comprehensive and customized media and crisis training.

While not always afforded the luxury, effective crisis planning is key when it comes to executing a successful response.

The speed of today’s media cycle and the rise of social media and citizen journalism have made effective crisis preparation, communication and media relations an essential part of mitigating negative reputational impacts for any organization, large or small. Learning how to work with the media and navigate a crisis successfully includes understanding what drives news, anticipating what may cause a crisis and having a crisis plan in place.

You may be asking, “What constitutes a crisis?” A crisis is any situation that prompts significant, often sustained, news coverage and public scrutiny, and has the potential to damage the integrity, image, financial stability, or reputation of your organization or company. This may include a natural or man-made disaster or emergency (hello, COVID-19!), a controversy or a legal dispute or the failure to appropriately respond to any one of these types of occurrences.

Whether it’s working with municipalities dealing with civil unrest, or supporting a prominent healthcare network through an unprecedented pandemic, Cerrell’s team of communications and crisis experts know how to effectively plan and execute the response required to mitigate negative impacts and preserve the reputations of our clients.

Sample crisis scenario grid for on-camera training exercise.

Here are some freebies:

Learn the facts and then take quick and clear action

Establish a chain of command, who is responsible for what action/response

Create a repository of information whether that be a landing page on your existing website or an entirely new site and URL

Communicate with your internal stakeholders first

Coordinate internally to make sure you don’t deliver contradictory messages

If you know a negative story is going to be released, prepare statements ahead of time and prepare your spokespeople

Take accountability when accountability is due

Don’t let it drip, drip, drip.
Be proactive when possible.

Turn off scheduled posts on your social media

While your team may already have experience in media engagement and stakeholder communications, it is vital to regularly conduct media training workshops to ensure your team is prepared for any crisis situation.

Our services are unmatched when it comes to handling crises—our planning, training, and execution of comprehensive communications plans and the favorable resolutions we bring to the table are why Cerrell is time and again the preferred full-service communications and public affairs firm in Southern California.

We tailor each training to a client’s specific needs but here's a snapshot of what our sessions typically cover:
  • Best practices for handling a crisis
  • Real-world examples that you, your competitors or other similar entities have faced
  • How to develop messages that communicate effectively
  • Exploring tactics for proactively providing updates and information during a crisis
  • Social media best practices during a crisis
  • Engaging with the community and key stakeholders when the situation warrants
  • Developing a crisis communications plan that includes scenario planning
  • Planning, media holding statements and call tree
  • How to field and respond to media inquiries both verbally and written
  • Creating talking points for spokespeople
  • Updating stakeholders following a crisis
Interested in learning more about our media and crisis communication training program? We will customize a training to your industry, specific needs and sensitivities. Learn practical tips and everyday tools to communicate effectively during a crisis. Contact us today!
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