Tag Archives: crisis communication plan

Crisis Response: Plan, Monitor and Respond

Traditional Media During a Crisis | GroundFloor Media Crisis Communications ExpertsIt’s 2018. When was the last time your company or organization updated its crisis communication plan?

The GroundFloor Media crisis team has been spending time reviewing crisis communication plans for our clients, and we are finding several areas that need updating. For instance, unlike five years ago, most crisis events these days don’t manifest only in the media, so there is a large social media component. Also, response scenarios likely need to be updated as well as key audiences to take into account the likelihood of a crisis happening on social media.

In general, the key theme of a crisis-response plan must be providing clear, honest communications to various audiences that might be impacted by the bad news. The crisis response approach is simple and straightforward, and based on three points:

  1. Don’t cover up
  2. Fix the problem
  3. Apologize and make sure it does not happen again

Here’s an outline of a crisis communications response plan:


  • Identify and prepare for potential issues
  • Communicate with the customer-service and legal teams
  • Get the facts and prepare statements



  • Get in front of the story
  • “No comment” is a last-ditch response
  • Accurately convey your side of the story to all audiences

Find out more about elements of a crisis plan in a Denver Business Journal article I wrote. Also, let us know if your business needs help revising its crisis communication plan.

GroundFloor Media’s Gil Rudawsky Shares Crisis Response Insights in Marketing Publication

GilThe lines between public relations and marketing continue to blur as Marketing News, the monthly publication for the American Marketing Association, recently focused on creating rapid-response messaging for a crisis or opportunity.

The article, titled Lickety-Split, covered the example of Oreo and how its parent company and marketing agency quickly capitalized on the 2013 Super Bowl blackout by posting a photo of the cookie on the brand’s social media pages with the slogan, “You can still dunk in the dark.” The image was shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter and generated millions of earned media impressions. The author, with help from Gil Rudawsky, provides five tips for developing and executing rapid-response messaging.

Develop a brand voice. Oreo had been building a brand voice for years through various campaigns on social media, so when the Super Bowl opportunity presented itself, the team had the pieces in place to respond quickly (and Oreo was a Super Bowl advertiser).

Read more after the jump…

Crisis/Issues Management: Don’t Get Caught In A Lurch On Social Media

You know the issues management project you are working on? That’s right, the one that has taken months and extra hours at the office to develop messaging, train and coach spokespeople, develop a communications plan and create a media response strategy?

Well, let’s say it sparked a negative conversation online and your company needs to engage now. As your social media policy states, you must respond efficiently, be transparent and share as much information as you are able.

However, in a crisis and/or issues management scenario, many times your hands can be tied as to what you can and can’t say, especially if the situation centers around a confidential topic like a lawsuit or one that involves minors. At GroundFloor Media we encourage our clients to anticipate those issues: be proactive and prepare for them as best you can.

Read more after the jump…

6 guidelines for drafting a crisis communications plan

Penn State University is learning the hard way about the difference between issues management and crisis communication.

When a grand jury convened to investigate child sex abuse allegations against an employee, the university needed to start putting together an issues management plan that included numerous scenarios of possible outcomes, a crisis communication plan, and a media plan.

As with many issues management scenarios, they can become a full-blown crisis or mitigated with a thoughtful and immediate response. Undoubtedly, how they are handled can define your future.

Given news that the Penn State’s Board of Trustees only this week hired a crisis PR firm, it seems that there was no real plan in place despite the signs that this scandal was going to be uncovered.

As further evidence there was no plan—or it wasn’t used—it took several days before the university took any action or addressed the issue, even if was in a neutral manner.

A quick Web search did find a weak 627-word Penn State University crisis plan dating back to 2006. It describes several scenarios and listed numerous audiences for communication, including students, alumni, legislators, faculty, and media.

Only one scenario, described as “Personnel issues—criminal activities” seems to fit the issue the university is dealing with now, but the current matter seems much, much bigger than simply a personnel issue.

In the university’s defense, even the most creative minds could not have come up with a scenario that would come even close to this situation. It is precedent setting and will surely be studied at schools around the country, including Penn State’s Arthur W. Page’s Center for Integrity in Public Communications.

For the rest of us, we can use this opportunity to dust off our clients’ crisis plans to make sure they are up to date. If you don’t have a plan, here are some crisis communication and issues management tips:

1. Create a crisis communication plan that includes scenarios, messaging, and a response plan. Revisit it annually, and update scenarios and members of the crisis communication team.
2. Create a social media policy, and share it regularly with your employees. All too often what an employee believes to be an innocuous remark on social media can come back to harm a company’s reputation.
3. Train staff on how to respond to a crisis or issue at hand, including conducting media and messaging training.
4. For issues management work, take the time to develop a plan or, if time is more limited, outline your strategic approach in a one-page memo.
5. Be proactive and hire an agency or outside consultant—even if they don’t execute, their strategic counsel and outside perspective on the issue can be invaluable.
6. Learn from your mistakes, and understand that trying to cover up the truth instead of making real reforms will continue to harm a company’s reputation for the long term.

(This post also appears on PRDaily.com)