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In the Heat of a Crisis, Part II: Steps to Take During a Crisis

What steps should brands take during a crisis?
A crisis is scary for any brand, however, a plan will ensure the appropriate measures are taken and the most important information is communicated quickly, ethically and effectively. To implement the plan, a key team of people should be established (identifying one spokesperson) to work with the media to communicate to customers. Media (both traditional and social) should be monitored 24/7. Consideration should also be given to the realities of a crisis, including what actually happened and what customers think happened.

The best course of action:
1.    Acknowledge the crisis quickly and publicly.
2.    Make it clear that you are determined to find out the truth, and only then will you take action.
3.    Set up your team of key personnel who will provide transparency.
4.    Set a timeline of events to be completed and actions to be taken.

Depending on the severity of the crisis, some brands may need to establish a media center to communicate with officials, emergency operations agencies, the Red Cross or civilian defense, hospitals and other government agencies. Internal communications within a brand should be constant, keeping employees (brand ambassadors and key communicators) in the loop of information; the legal department and senior management should be informed at all times.

Brands need to remember that during a crisis, the media is an effective means to appropriately communicate. Brands should not only monitor media coverage, but should work with the media to convey key facts including what, how, when, where, why, parties involved and ramifications.