End of the World Crisis Comms…

OK, it’s not likely to happen, but with 21/12 fast approaching I’m wondering if someone, somewhere hasn’t been asked to provide a crisis preparedness plan for in case the Mayan prophecy on the end of the world is actually correct…

Anyway, it’s a bit of “fun” and an excuse to do a literature review on the IABC’s November-December issue of Communications World.

In this edition there are two really useful articles on crisis preparedness by Gerard Braud (www.BraudCommunications.com) and Jane Jordan-Meier (Jane Jordan & Associates). So this is my rough crisis plan for the end of the world based on their advice and expertise.

In Gerard Braud’s piece he gives a five step plan to prepare for a crisis – first he says we should identify our vulnerabilities. OK, it’s the end of the world, I have watched 20:12 on the cinemas, and so I’m pretty clued up on what could materialise – Check.

Then he says ‘Do what most fail to do’ which effectively is to avoid ‘Googling’ your crisis plan and copy-pasting from someone else. He recommends putting a step by step, chronological guide which is written “so thoroughly that nothing is overlooked”. Something that “everyone from the CEO to the intern would be able to follow”. This makes sense, as it’s possible a huge meteorite might take down the HQ and we would be left operating from a distant contact center…

Speed of communication is critical – well yes, especially as power and telecommunications are likely to go down pretty quickly. The first statement should go out “within one hour of the onset of the crisis”. Great, we can have scheduling software prepared with our statement and can delete the message if we are still able five minutes before – Check!

He also recommends using a clear sunny day retreat to write your plan and prepare your materials. This is a kind of break from the office where you can sit with your editorial team and really focus on, well, being negative. So, it’s to Jebal Haffeet with a couple of the guys – where better to contemplate the end of everything – and have a chance of surviving to execute the plan as well – Check!

Finally, it’s practice, practice, practice. Well, only got nine days to go now and… everyone I talk to about this thinks I’m mad. So probably going to have to let this one go.

Then Jane Jordan-Meier explains what to do when the crisis hits.

Stage 1 is Breaking News where we have to get out what happened and when. The aim is to dent speculations and counter rumours spread by social media like twitter. “The Twittercycle” is faster, hyper-vigilant and often more nuanced than the traditional one” she says. We need to gauge how big the event is in order to “react, plan and respond accordingly”.

Well, this is the end of the world, so pretty big in the whole scheme of things. In this case we probably need to go beyond the mandatory 24/7 monitoring of developments and take great pains to stay one step ahead as civilisation collapses into chaos.

Stage 2 is to manage “the unfolding drama”. This means to help the media to do its job “telling us what went wrong, who was responsible, and what might happen in the future.” This is the most important stage in the communications – it’s make it or break it for the brand so we really need to be on the ball.

Considering that telecoms and Internet links might be down, I think we might need to invest in a satellite uplink to get our apologies about service disruption to clients, and updates on how we might be able to restore a limited service… at least temporarily and perhaps offer a few services for free as compensation.

Dangerously, the blame game comes next. This is for once everything has calmed down. And is pretty easy in this case – it’s the Mayans to blame! Check.

And then we are up to the stage of resolution and fallout. This is where we get evaluated for our successful communications, and sadly, because even at the end of the world, there will be someone, somewhere recording what happened on Wikipedia, our results will be there for the next evolution of species to discover years hence.

So in a nutshell, this is what might help for the End of the World.

1. HootSuite account (www.hootsuite.com) – you can schedule tweets, LinkedIn, Facebook posts to your key stakeholders and have them staged every hour. Five mins before each hour you quickly go on and delete.

2. Cision Point (www.cisionpoint.com) – this works a bit like Hootsuite, but you can schedule press release distribution by various methods – including fax and email. This way you can get your message to press and other important stakeholders.

3. A satellite modem (www.thuraya.com/products/data/thuraya-IP) – this will help maintain communications during the problems.

And, well, I think that’s all that we could use considering all – fingers crossed all goes well!

Good luck to all!


About stephenking2012

In 2012 I volunteered to hold the position of Chair - Standards & Ethics Committee for the Middle East PR Association (@MEPRA_org). I have set up this account to assist in this effort. You may also like to follow my Blog or connect with me on LinkedIn. In any case, please do visit www.mepra.org, and if you are not yet a member, please do sign up!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s