The Three People Every Crisis Communications Team Needs
Crises are stressful. No matter how well you think you’re prepared, you can’t be sure until you need to activate your crisis communications plan. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crisis preparation. Every organization different, which means every crisis communications plan will be different. However, there are three people that should be included in every plan – they are your Crisis Management Dream Team.
1.Crisis Team Leader. The Crisis Team Leader is the captain. They are accountable for determining the course of action. The Crisis Team Leader may be you, someone else from your organization, or someone you hire with experience managing communication strategy during a crisis.
2. Crisis Analyst. Coverage of the crisis will unfold online and offline. The role of the crisis analyst is to monitor the crisis in real time and alert the crisis team to spikes in activity and trends. I recommend they prepare two to three reports each day for the first two to three days after the crisis begins. These reports will help the Team Leader determine how best to manage a response.
3. Crisis Community Manager. The role of the crisis community manager is to triage messages that come in and ensure that those issues are addresses. Your social media channels will require more attention than every before during a crisis.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Former Baltimore Orioles manager, Cal Ripken, Sr. was famous for saying, “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” You won’t know how well your crisis plan works if you don’t practice. It’s the best time to find points of weakness and it will help your team solidify or adjust roles and responsibilities.
Final Thoughts. It’s important that when a crisis occurs you know who is responsible for calling other members of the team and the organization. The Crisis Team Leader will be responsible for the first call. I strongly recommend that there is a back up person for each member of the Crisis Communications Team and other people in your organization that may be called during crisis. If a senior executive doesn’t have access to the connected world, who will make the executive decision?