Crisis Communication

Crisis communication has been an important topic for a dozen years or more, yet we still see companies/organizations failing to follow the basic rules for communicating in a crisis. They either don't make plans or they fail to carry them out. You simply cannot plan for or respond to a crisis once you're in it; you must have done this work prior to its onset so you can hit the ground running. Have you factored in the effect of social media on your crisis response? Who are your spokespeople? If you can't answer these questions, and your crisis communication plan is a work in progress, read on.

Social media adds an overwhelming complexity to crisis communication. (Item #1)     Poor crisis communication can have devastating effects on a company's customer and shareholder relationships, brand perception and, ultimately, bottom line. (Item #2)     Swiftly respond to emergencies and help prevent future problems by having a solid crisis communication strategy. (Item #3)    

In a crisis, human resources plays a critical role in getting workers the information they need when they need it. (Item #4)     Because the first two days following a crisis are the most critical, preparation is a key factor to ensure the situation is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. (Item #5)     It's impossible to prepare for and manage a crisis concurrently. (Item #6)    

As always, I look forward to hearing about your concerns with regard to business continuity. If there are any topics that you'd like to see covered, email me at

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Six Social Media "Musts" for Crisis Communication

The multiple channels, user-level control of messaging, and real-time delivery make social media far more complex than press releases and conferences. Like a leaky boat in a cartoon, there is a lot to repair and it's hard to know where to start. What I want to do in this post is to examine how to best use social media for crisis communication.

2. Anthem's Cyber Attack Demonstrates Dos and Don'ts of Crisis Communications

A computer hack like Anthem's places organizations in the spotlight, as they are scrutinized on every move they make. From how quickly they reveal a breach to how forthcoming they are about their past cyber security practices and policies, every element is judged by the media and consumers alike. So far, the actions Anthem has taken have been timely and forthright, and we can learn some valuable PR lessons from Anthem's crisis communications approach following a cyber attack.

3. Secure Lines: Protecting Your Meeting Content

Just as businesses train employees to safely and efficiently carry out their day-to-day jobs, they can train employees to effectively and accurately communicate during high-stress situations, such as when they might need to call 911 or report a fire. That means designating specific communication roles to specific employees and practicing those roles before an accident or natural disaster ever happens. With practice, employees likely will feel more confident about telling fellow employees where to go when there's a flood, whom to call when that tornado is coming too close, and what to say to a manager or dispatcher when reporting an injury.

4. HR: The Guardians of Your Employees' Galaxy

When one thinks about who should take charge during a disaster, perhaps the human resources department isn't the first unit that comes to mind, but HR can and should play a critical role in communicating with workers in the event of an emergency. Whatever the emergency, HR is frequently thrust to the forefront, responsible for communicating with employees in order to keep them safe and minimize the business impact of incidents. This is a tall order, but there's good reason for HR to take on this responsibility.

5. The First 48 Hours of Crisis Communication

When an organization has a crisis, the same rules of communication apply as in ordinary times, but the response must be well rehearsed and deliberate. The first 48 hours of a crisis are the most important because they determine whether the situation becomes a manageable problem or an out-of-control disaster. It's not possible to bide your time when a crisis happens; ignoring the event and burying your head in the sand will inevitably result in the situation turning into an unmitigated disaster.

6. Five Reasons You Need a Crisis Communications Plan

How a company communicates its recovery plan makes all the difference between a brand that survives a crisis, and one that never quite recovers. Key players in the reputation management game include customers, retailers and the media along with important stakeholders like employees and investors. The newest wrinkle in crisis communications is the increasingly important role of social media. Everyone has a voice these days regardless of whether they're vested or invested in the company.

Quote of the Week:

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

-- Winston Churchill

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Attainium Corp
15110 Gaffney Circle
Gainesville, VA 20155