Imagine you run a successful small business that is well known for helping out the local community. Your business just announced that it will now advocate for a social issue that is seen as rather controversial. Following your announcement, a local social interest group has garnered attention for slandering your business initiatives online. How do you combat this slander while keeping your reputation intact?
The answer is simple, your business needs a Crisis Management Plan. All companies or businesses are susceptible to crisis. Most crises, however, are manageable with an appropriately catered CMP. A thorough CMP will provide your organization with effective resources and tactics to not only mitigate crisis damage, but also set the framework to prevent future crises.
What is a CMP?
A CMP should act as a guidebook to provide the proper resources and tactics to navigate any crisis that could potentially affect your business. A crisis is anything that could affect the profitability, integrity or reputation of your business.
A good CMP should include, but is not limited to:
- A list of potential crises that could affect your company.
- A list of stakeholder/ media contacts.
- A list of training materials and tactics that will be used to train your employees and crisis team.
- A crisis procedure outline, which should define the specific steps your business should take when a crisis occurs.
- A list of potential press conference sample questions, so that your spokesperson may prepare to speak to the public, media and your stakeholders.
A strong CMP will enable your business to manage a crisis efficiently and effectively. This will ultimately minimize the negative impact the crisis has on your businesses. Without a solid plan in place, your business will likely lack the proper resources and procedures to mitigate damage. This has the potential to worsen the crisis – and can even have negative long term effects on your company’s reputation.
Future Crisis Prevention
A CMP should help your business identify any potential crises that you may face, and how you should respond to them. Plan your response in the calm before the storm! Identifying potential crises and their appropriate responses before, rather than during the crisis, can eliminate unnecessary mistakes. This will help your business to be forward thinking, and give you a good eye for detecting prodromal crisis warnings.
The beginning of the end for a business often starts with a tarnished reputation. Reputation management can combat negative press to help preserve your business’s image. During a crisis, transparent and prepared communication with the media will help you maintain the public’s trust. A CMP will ensure that your business is prepared to respond to the media, public and stakeholders during a crisis. By training your spokesperson on what to say and how to say it, your business can better control the narrative of the crisis.
At Sinclair Public Affairs, we are trained to help our clients maneuver any crisis situation. Please contact us at [email protected], and let us help you prepare a strong crisis management plan for your business or organization.