Crisis Communication Plan. Don’t Do Business Without It!

Every organization is subject to crisis situations, regardless of size or industry. Bigger companies are often bigger targets, but when a crisis happens it will impact the organization regardless of size. When crisis strikes, the organization must know how to communicate with stakeholders, internal personnel, and the public. It’s important to know what information to share, and how to share it. False rumors and speculation negatively impact the organization and must be stopped as quickly as possible. The key to minimizing negative impact is a carefully crafted crisis communication plan. Don’t do business without it!

The purpose of a Crisis Communications Plan is multifaceted. It will;

  • Identify potential crisis situations that would need special attention
  • Define and identify a crisis team
  • Outline roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Document specific steps to take in the event of a crisis
  • Document necessary contacts, available resources and processes to follow
  • Serve as a tool for on-going training, assessment and improvement


The pre-plan stage is crucial to ensure that key leadership, staff and communication teams speak as a single unit in a crisis event. With one voice, one purpose, one directive, the right message is delivered at the right time and in the right way.  The success of the plan hinges on this stage being implemented and completed with purpose. The most important tasks during the pre-plan stage include;

  1. Assemble a crisis communications team and the roles each will play in the plan.
    The team may consist of C-Suite executives and departmental leadership, in addition to internal and/or external communications professionals.
  2. Identify potential crises.
    Explore all possible outcomes and impact on the organization’s mission.
  3. Identify, document, and thoroughly communicate the organizational mission.
    Revise if necessary, but be sure to communicate these changes.  The entire organization should be well-versed in all messaging related to the mission of the organization.
  4. Identify, document and thoroughly communicate the missions of each operating unit.
    Ensure it aligns with the organizational mission. Revise again, then communicate more. Operational missions may not differ much from the organizational mission, but team buy-in is just as important.


Steps for CrisisComm 470X246 - 3assembling a crisis communications plan will look different for every organization.  The plan itself may be simple, or quite complex. The type of potential crises and the degree of damage control needed will vary for a host of reasons. The purpose of the plan, however, is universal.  To deliver the right message at the right time, the right way.

Steps to putting an effective plan in place include;

  1. Schedule regular periodic strategy sessions with your crisis team. In these sessions, the team will review potential risks that would require crisis communication, and then update the plan and communicate updates to all team members.
  2. Identify stakeholders and audiences of the organization to communicate with during a crisis event.
  3. Determine and document where and how the crisis communication team will organize and respond to the crisis. Details matter. Determine location – on or off-site, and method of communication – phone, email.
  4. Disburse the Crisis Communications plan and revise as needed.

The most important thing about a crisis communication plan is to communicate it well. Not every person in an organization is going to be directly involved in deploying a plan should a crisis occur.  Failing to loop every person into the plan is an invitation for the rumors and speculation you are working hard to thwart. Be sure everyone in the organization knows that there is a plan and knows what that plan looks like.  Don’t allow one person to get in the way of great communication because they “didn’t know”.

Does your organization have a crisis communication plan in place?  When was the last time it was reviewed and revised? Chemistry PR and Multimedia specializes in corporate and non-profit organization communications and is here to help.  Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about how to protect reputation and brand with a great crisis communication plan.

More about Chris Kuban: 

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Chris Kuban started Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production. He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.