Planning Consider potential crises Assemble key team members Discuss possible responses Put processes in writing Test them Adjust response plan accordingly Test again Commit to memory!!!
Things to have ON PAPER 24/7 contact information for everyone Instructions for posting to your Web site Instructions for changing voicemail messages Templates for “likely” emergencies
Spotting a Crisis Milestone events “Celebrity” employees/stakeholders Disgruntled employees Passionate stakeholders Initiatives going/gone wrong Units with little supervision Industry/national environment Current events Leaders who think rules don’t apply to them
Process (in place in advance of a crisis) Have a designated meeting place Assign one person to gather information Consider what types of things should be in writing Determine information flow
Information Flow Who handles incoming calls, emails, etc.? Who has the power to mitigate the crisis? Who has the power to make it worse? Who is paying the bills? Who are the customers?
Process: This is NOT a Test Call your dean/supervisor Call Public Affairs Determine what you know Determine what you don’t know Think about your audience(s) for this crisis Build your message Share it – in a timely fashion – with your audience(s)
Building Relationships What media “cover” your organization? What are their deadlines? Are there special sections/segments that match your organization’s expertise and offerings? Who are the specific reporters assigned to your organization?
The Call Never talk without prepping Never allow your boss to talk without prepping You never have to talk to reporters Think about the message Do the reporter’s work for him/her
The Interview Look and act professionally Speak clearly Use your bullets in EVERY answer possible
Example: Penn State University PSU was a national football powerhouse Longtime PSU assistant coach was accused of child sexual abuse Instead of telling the truth, high-level officials lied to protect the school’s brand Victims went public with their stories Lies were revealed Coach, president, others lost their jobs PSU will pay millions in damages PSU brand is badly tarnished
Special Situations Off the record Not for attribution No comment
Getting the Story Right Summarize your points Provide supporting documents in simple form Offer to answer questions during writing process Be available!! Read/watch/listen to the story When necessary, set the record straight
Crisis Communications 101 Anne Mulcahy (former Xerox head): Get the cow out of the ditch Figure out how the cow got in the ditch Create a plan to make sure the cow doesn’t end up back in the ditch
Media Relations Points to Remember Establish relationships BEFORE a crisis When interviewing, be prepared Make 1-2 points…stick to them If it’s written or recorded, it could end up on the news. Tell the truth!!!!!