Crises happen when they are least expected, which is why every organization should have a crisis communication plan in place. Crises communications refers to information that is shared when an event occurs that impacts customers or a company’s reputation. The intent is to mitigate negativity, ensure all employees and stakeholders are in the know, and maintain control over public brand perception.

Many people base their loyalty to a company based on its products or services. How an organization reacts in a time of crisis also plays a role in maintaining a customer base.

What are Examples of Business Crises?

A crisis for an organization could be anything that stalls or even stops business operations. HubSpot identified these as the most common types of crises:

  • Financial: Financial loss such as a bankruptcy or site closures.
  • Personnel: Changes to staff like furloughs, layoffs, or controversial behavior.
  • Organizational: Misconduct or wrongdoing because of organizational practices.
  • Technological: Technological failure that results in outages causing reduced functionality or functionality loss.
  • Natural: Natural crisis that necessitates an announcement or change of procedure. For example, defining safety precautions amid a health crisis.
  • Confrontation: Discontent individuals confront an organization as a result of unmet needs or demands.
  • Workplace Violence: Violence is committed by a current or former employee.
  • Crisis of Malevolence: A business uses criminal or illegal means to destabilize, harm, extort, or destroy a competitor.

Anatomy of a Crisis Communications Plan

Customers, shareholders, and anyone else affected by a crisis expect timely updates, and having a crisis communications plan in place paves the way for quick action and consistency.

What should you include in a crisis communications plan?

Key Details: Explain the purpose of the plan and determine who can activate the plan and under what circumstances.

Crisis Team Roles: Determine who is responsible for different tasks like creating and sharing internal and external communications, working with the media, fielding calls, and monitoring responses.

Key Messages: Develop message sets for a variety of crises you may face. Messages should identify the cause, share a brief description of what occurred, provide a timetable for future actions, communicate compassion for any victims, and provide guidance for protective measures, if appropriate.

  • Make sure employees know what is going on and what to do in various crisis situations.
  • Ensure employees also are aware of media and social media policies so everyone is aligned on handling inquiries and social chatter.
  • Be factual and accurate.
  • Get approvals to share any sensitive or private information.

Contact Information: Gather all important contact details such as police and fire departments, evacuation centers, suppliers, and public health departments.

Some crises are unavoidable. Having a plan in place so that your organization is ready to handle conflict of any kind helps avoid reactive responses.

Distributing Your Crisis Communications

Work with a wire service, like Business Wire, to deliver your important crisis communications to local, national, or trade press, plus influencers, and any other audiences you need to reach. Business Wire’s account representatives and newsroom provide guidance and expertise to help you quickly and effectively deliver your news to your target audiences.

To be prepared for any type of crisis, having a well-prepared crisis communication plan is key. From natural disasters to technological failures, crises have the potential to disrupt business operations and affect customer trust and loyalty. Being proactive helps safeguard your organization and keep everyone, internal and external, informed.

Learn more about PR crisis management from Muck Rack and check out HubSpot’s crisis communication and management templates.

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