Essential Components of a Crisis Communication Plan

For more than 10 years, Patrick O’Reilly has led O’Reilly Public Relations (OPR) in Riverside, California, as its president and founder. To serve Riverside and other Inland Empire clients successfully, Patrick O’Reilly focuses his firm’s services on three general areas: public affairs, media relations, and crisis communication.

Many companies experience a crisis at some point during their existence, and having a strong crisis communication plan in place before a crisis occurs helps companies manage the situation quickly and correctly. Following are a few of the essential components of a good crisis communication plan.

– Including a definition of a crisis at the front of a plan ensures companies only react when it is truly necessary. Treating something as if it’s a crisis, when it isn’t, can make a situation worse. Typically, a crisis is something that poses a risk to the property and people associated with the company and could have a lasting negative impact on a company’s reputation.

– Identifying a crisis team and detailing the roles and responsibilities of those involved helps everyone know exactly what they need to do when a crisis arises. This promotes a smooth flow of proactive work. Typical teams consist of the CEO and CFO and people from public relations, marketing, and human resources.

– Taking a strategic approach to crisis communication also involves regularly assessing a company’s primary risks. This establishes a company culture that is aware of potential risks, making it easier for employees and management to share ideas about potential risks and prevent possible problems in the future.