We started Crisis Playbook because we recognized the need to create a more accessible crisis plan and because we want to close the gap between the operational and communications response. One of the key differences between Crisis Playbook and other crisis plans is that we include communications response tools for each plan. And, the communications response is aligned with the operational response.
Whether you have a dedicated communications and social media team – and whether they are adept at crisis response or not, it is crucial to include your communications leader in crisis planning for several reasons. There will be a publicity moment in pretty much every major crisis incident – and not the good kind.
Including your communications partners in the plan will help with:
Speed of response. If the communications and social media team have a plan, they will have editable communications that they can turn around much more quickly during an incident. In the middle of a crisis, coming up with the right tone and content is a huge challenge. Having something to work from is incredibly beneficial.
Alignment. Having the communications and operations parts of your company working from the same plan, will have the same effect as having a chorus singing from the same song page. It will ensure your timing and actions line up so that your team can work quickly to get essential information to those who need it without delay. A strong relationship between these key internal partners is essential during a crisis.
Reputation. During a crisis response, your company’s reputation is on the line. What takes a lifetime to build could be changed forever with the wrong tweet or social media post. This happens all the time. For many communicators, it is not their job to do crisis all of the time – and becoming a strong crisis communicator doesn’t happen over night. Having a prepared communications team – with resources that will steer them in the right direction is incredibly helpful and important in the moment.
For all these reasons, having a Crisis Playbook with plans in place now will be valuable and effective for your team in the future.