Cannibalism And How To Handle Crisis Communications

While You May be Concentrating Your Efforts on Recovery after an Incident, Be Sure that Information Provided to the Media is What You Want Publicized

Part One of Three Regarding Your Crisis Communications

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 6th. Annual Business Continuity Symposium held in Rochester, New York, and sponsored by the Eastern Great Lakes Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners (EGLACP). Chapter President John J. Luce and his organization staff lined up some great speakers and set a record for the number of sponsors attending the annual event.

The lead speaker was James W. Satterfield, President, COO and Founder of Firestorm Solutions, LLC, whose session was entitled “Crisis Management Reality Check: Consequence Management Lessons Learned After a Crisis”. At the start of the session, Mr. Satterfield asked “Have You Heard the One About Cannibalistic Rites Being Performed on a Major College Campus?“

Of course, everyone was taken aback by the question and nobody raised their hand. He went on to say that Firestorm coached the leadership of the school through this crisis and gave this as an example of how to handle crisis communications. You can understand the critical importance of media relations every day based on some of the things you see and hear reported online, on TV and in the press.

According to the Firestorm website: “Your company's reputation, brand, legacy, and profitability hang in the balance in a crisis. Crises are personal. Every crisis is a human crisis. It is your company. It is your people. It is your brand. It is your reputation. It is your career. Doing the wrong thing or doing nothing can create a point of no return.”

Along with IT disaster recovery exercises and business continuity tests with business units, a number of table-top sessions should be held with media relations / public relations / senior executive management to discuss and plan on what should or should not be said in order to protect the reputation of the organization. In fact, pre-staged text can be developed now and edited as needed during a crisis situation.

As far as who should be the spokesperson during the event has been a great topic of discussion in our industry, and many valid opinions have been voiced over time. I’ll review some of these views and what should be contained in your communiqués in the next two installments regarding how to handle crisis communications.

As you know, Strategic BCP Consultants are always available to answer any questions or act as mentors. Contact us if you want assistance.

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