2018 was a powerhouse year for crisis communications learnings. From Crock-Pot’s This is Us nightmare to KFC’s bold response to its chicken shortage, these examples are a good reminder to constantly reevaluate your crisis or issues management strategy and protocol. While preparing for the unexpected is typically the primary focus, building in ample time post-crisis to measure and assess the company’s approach is critical to learn and evolve.
Once the situation has been managed, here is a framework to follow to ensure you’re setup for the future.
Monitor and track every news and social mention
Use your monitoring tools (Cision, Meltwater, Sysomos) to capture all press coverage and social chatter. Track all reporters who covered the news for future outreach efforts and analyze the sentiment of the articles. For social, export all mentions to measure key terms and analyze the sentiment there as well.
Hold a regroup meeting with all stakeholders
Get all core crisis team members (from communications to c-level) in a room to hold a post-mortem. Thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization’s response. Apply the “kaizen” method of always improving to discuss where you could have refined and enhanced.
Wait, what? Benchmarks for a crisis? Yes. It’s important to review set metrics during your port-mortem so you have goals in place to track towards and measure against where you want to be. Consider response time (a great goal is within 60 minutes to better control the story), total number of media articles, key messages, media and consumer sentiment, and stakeholder perception. I’ll expand on these benchmarks in a follow-up blog post soon.
Update your communications plan
Take all that you’ve learned and apply it to future efforts. Update your crisis communications plan with new insights and learnings gathered from your regroup. Share the new plan with key team members highlighting the updates so everyone is aware of the changes.
Talk to your team members
Keeping your team members informed is key to building confidence in your organization. Tell them what happened and what you learned. In the moment of crisis, it may be challenging to keep your teams updated, but a town hall-style meeting post-crisis is a great communication platform for them to ask questions and understand the situation.
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