The need for a crisis communications strategy and plan has never been as crucial as it is today. The catastrophic events of recent years have shown that relying solely on traditional communications tools for contacting employees, customers and other constituents in a time of need is not enough for relaying vital information. Every organization can find itself in a crisis. This week's articles can help you handle the communications aspects of a disruption.
Many people view crisis communication as strategy for protecting corporate reputation carried out by public relations and legal - not as a strategy for rapid decision-making amongst executives and decision-makers and the rapid mobilization of response teams.
Whatever the reason for invoking your business continuity plan, there are a number of aspects that will involve communication.
Email's primary role as a communications vehicle means that, in an actual disaster, the inevitable outage not only hampers the running of the business, but significantly curtails the business's ability to respond and recover from the disaster in the first place.
These examples of inappropriate crisis communications policies, culled from real-life situations, will provide a tongue-in-cheek guide about what NOT to do when your organization is faced with a crisis.
Here's everything you wanted to know about the John Edwards lesson of career implosion - and what you can learn from it.
It's not easy to get senior management to actively support crisis communication plans.
As always, we look forward to hearing your comments & insights regarding business continuity.
If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, email me at
Bob Mellinger, President
1. Crisis Communication and Risk Management in Business Continuity Preparedness
Forrester Research and the Disaster Recovery Journal have partnered to field a number of market studies in business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) in order to gather data for company comparison and benchmarking, to guide research, and for the publication of best practices and recommendations for the industry. This is the third annual joint survey. This particular study focused on the role of crisis communication in business continuity and the relationship of business continuity to risk management.
2. Communicating in a Crisis: The importance of talking things through
Good communication in a crisis, both before and during the event is a key component of a successful business continuity plan. Who you inform and how you keep in touch is vital to keeping a company active and focused during an incident
3. Email Continuity: Maintaining Communications in Times of Disaster
One of the most fundamental of business applications, email, often gets short shrift from a disaster planning perspective. And given the importance of email for almost every business - both in terms of serving as a critical communication tool and as a de facto information repository - an email continuity plan should be at the top of every IT disaster recovery planning list. But is this truly the case? And is the plan comprehensive enough to maintain continuous email communications?
4. Making a Crisis Worse: The Biggest Mistakes in Crisis Communications
All organizations are vulnerable to crises. You can't serve any population without being subjected to situations involving lawsuits, accusations of impropriety, sudden changes in ownership or management, and other volatile situations on which your stakeholders - and the media that serves them - often focus.
5. Crisis Communication Gone Wrong
When you've done as poor a job of crisis communications as John Edwards did in the wake of his scandal, he ended any hope of rising from the ashes, So what are the lessons John Edwards failed to learn?
6. How to get senior management to take notice of your crisis communication plan
Many executives perceive crises and emergencies only in terms of an operational response ("put the fire out and return to full operations ASAP"). They look at communication only as an afterthought to the real work. This is an extremely frustrating attitude to encounter. Those executives will need to be convinced of the impact on your organization's operations and therefore profitability before they take full notice of your communication plan. (In a government agency the discussion would need to be about the impact on output and the fallout from politicians to a public shambles.)
Quote of the Week:
"This is a basic crisis communications principle: When you are dealing in a crisis situation,
people want to look, see and feel that some type of leadership is being projected."
-- Chris Lehane