There’s the known unknowns- in this case, crisis communication plans your brand should already have in place- and the unknown unknowns. Sometimes things can pop up out of nowhere for your brand. How can you be prepared for something you can’t even anticipate?
This post is here to help you prepare for exactly that.
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Do some industry recon
What unexpected problems have popped up for your competitors? Learn from their mistakes AND their wins and use that to craft a tactical guide for your brand that’s outside of what you already have in your crisis communication guide. This doc can live alongside that one in your official brand guidelines or you can keep it as a more informal set of guidelines for your team and other key decision makers for your brand.
You can use something like Union Metrics Echo to look into the full Twitter archives and see how entire crisis conversations unfolded.
Want to take it even further?
Do some outside of industry recon
What things took brands completely by surprise? How would you handle the situation for your own brand? Run a mock drill if needed and document how everything flows in your team as things unfold.
This way you’ll know weak points in a chain of command and be able to solve any confusion around who exactly is responsible for what, plus what should be done if that responsible party can’t be reached in a time of crisis.
Build off of the plans you do have
Be sure you have an updated crisis communication plan for your brand and that everyone is both familiar with it and knows where to find it in order to refer to it if something does happen that requires a response.
If something happens that falls outside of that guide or it can’t be accessed, be sure everyone knows to let your brand voice, values and style guide be the guide in an unexpected situation.
Hire people you trust, then trust them to make the right decisions
Don’t let things get worse because your response was bogged down in ten layers of approvals. Have a clear line of how things will progress in case of any unexpected emergency with contingencies in case key decision makers can’t be reached.
While higher-ups will usually be the ones making the big decisions in crisis moments, be sure the input of those on the ground day-to-day is taken into account. They spend the most time with the audience and the data around that audience and their interactions with the brand.