Crisis Communications? Crisis Prevention May Mitigate the Need for it

Crisis Expert Outlines Prevention Steps On Popular PR Podcast
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - Feb. 17, 2020 - PRLog -- Public relations professionals with years of experience have had the challenging experience of having to manage a crisis. Your plan is executed when needed.  The primary issue with a crisis communications plan: it is employed after all hell breaks loose.  Why wait for the sirens to sound before you mobilize the troops, activate the plans and, hopefully, work to minimize damage to your organization?

Jonathan Bernstein, head of Bernstein Crisis Management was identified in PR Week as "one of 22 people who should be on the speed dial in a crisis."  Bernstein articulated his approach to crisis prevention during an interview on the Public Relations Review podcast.  Bernstein emphatically noted that of the crisis calls his firm has been called to resolved "that 95 percent were completely preventable." He said with crisis prevention activities been in place the crisis could have been avoided.  If, however, avoidance was not possible, prevention steps could have minimized a major portion of the damage.

Bernstein says the most important asset any organizations owns is its reputation. Yet, few organizations treat their reputation as such. Crisis prevention should be treated as a form of asset protection. Important to constructing an effective internal crisis prevention program include:

Vulnerability Audit—Forward thinking leadership assembles a group to examine the entire organization to identify, "what can go wrong" in any and all departments, systems, programs, locations, etc.  Next question, "what can we do now to prevent those problems."  Organizational "silos" can also be a major source potential internal problems.

Internal whistle blower system-Develop a system for any and all staff to report problems to senior officials without fear of retaliation. It appears that most problems in an organization are known about at some level in advance. Yet, there was no conduit in place to facilitate reporting to senior officials. Two methods can be used: For the Record and Anonymous.

Identify "Post Disaster" Location-Should your company suffer a major crisis in your current location is there a plan in place that identifies a site where staff should assemble the next day. Who does what tasks.  Most organizations have no such plan.

         Computer Disruption-With commercial and government computer systems across the nation being hijacked for a ransom by a foreign hackers what is the backup plan to move forward under those circumstances.  That "deer in the headlights look" is a frequent response.

Further, Bernstein strongly urges that no organization develop a crisis prevention/communications plan without first conducting its internal vulnerability audit., noting that "no two crisis are the same."

The Public Relations Review podcast is available on Soundcloud, Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart and nine other podcast sites.

Peter Woolfolk
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Tags:Crisis Communications
Location:Brentwood - Tennessee - United States
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