Don’t Panic! Here Are The Top Crisis Communications Strategies

From large corporations to schools, government entities and even your friendly, neighborhood ice cream shop, every organization – large and small – will undoubtedly experience a crisis at one time or another.

 

And while every situation is different, one thing remains the same – the decisions you make regarding crisis communications will either help your company ride out the chaotic roller coaster or, if you’re not careful, cause lasting damage to your brand.

 

Following the crisis communications strategies listed below could help you protect your organization during a difficult time.

 

Preparation is Key

While it’s impossible to know exactly when a crisis will strike, it’s important to anticipate and plan for potential crises.

 

The best way to prepare is to create a detailed plan outlining every possible crisis – everything from running out of ice cream on a hot, summer day to the building burning down – and the best possible response for each situation.

 

One of the biggest challenges companies face during a crisis is having too many cooks in the kitchen. The crisis communications plan should specify who will make final decisions on messaging, who will be the media spokesperson and who needs to be looped into all crisis communications discussions.

 

Accuracy and Speed

At Dittoe PR, we consider accuracy and speed to be two of the main ingredients in crisis preparedness – and while both are important, the two can sometimes create a confusing balancing act.

 

In the case of a major crisis, it is incredibly important to act quickly to stay ahead of the media and response from target audiences. However, that does not mean you should hastily share information or whip up a media statement too quickly.

 

Our recommendation? Face the crisis head on, only sharing accurate and factual information. If you are unsure of how the fire started, avoid speculation at all costs. Instead, share what you DO know. Avoiding the media during a crisis is often the biggest mistake a company can make, as it creates unnecessary rumors and spreads confusing messages.

 

Company transparency

During a crisis, it’s sometimes easy to forget about your employees while trying to communicate with the media, law enforcement, investors and everyone else on your list. However, neglecting employees could be harmful to your company’s internal well-being.

 

Oftentimes, employees catch on to crisis situations even if the company has not shared information and updates. Company morale can quickly diminish if employees think something is wrong, but are not receiving informational updates. Instead, the organization should always make sure to share the most up-to-date information with all employees to keep everyone in the know.

 

In the event of a crisis, the CEO and the executive team must consider the company’s employees as another constituency to respect and inform. This is particularly helpful should an employee want to discuss the company’s situation with others, on social media or even with the media. You should prep employees on what’s appropriate to share with their own networks (and also what’s not).

 

In short, managing crisis communications is no easy task. However, it doesn’t have to be detrimental to your brand if you prepare, act quickly, share accurate information with the media and your employees, and most importantly, avoid panic!

 

Additionally, working with an experienced PR firm can ensure success before, during, and after a crisis occurs, as well as strongly increase the chances of making it through unscathed.

 

Think your company or brand could benefit from expert crisis communications? We’re happy to help!

Now Hiring: Talented Account Coordinator or Executive Needed

Calling all PR pros! We have an immediate opening for an Account Coordinator or Account Executive position.

 

Account Coordinators are responsible for assisting in the execution of strategic public relations initiatives on behalf of the firm’s clients. This entry-level position is an opportunity for a smart, self-starting, detail-oriented individuals to develop a well-rounded roster of public relations skills and contribute to a variety of Dittoe Public Relations’ clients. The ideal candidate will have strong communication skills (both verbal and written), creativity, high energy and an outgoing personality. A strong emphasis is placed on media relations, research and analysis, reporting and client communication.

 

Account Executives are responsible for developing and executing strategic public relations initiatives on behalf of the firm’s clients. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills (both verbal and written), strong creativity, high energy and an outgoing personality. A strong emphasis is placed on media relations, strategic account management and client communication. We need self-starters and team players who enjoy spreading the word for the firm’s clients.

 

Limited travel may be required for press tours, trade shows and client meetings. Preference will go toward those with relevant professional work or internship experience in public relations or a related field (agency experience is a plus). Salary will reflect level of experience and includes a great benefits package. Other perks include a gym membership, breakfast on Fridays, a weekly half-day work from home policy, summer flex hours, Wine Wednesdays, the “Wheel of Celebration” to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries, breakfast/lunch & learns, unlimited vacation time and paid maternity/paternity leave.

 

Account Coordinator Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, English or a related field
  • Internships or 1-2 years of relevant professional work experience in public relations or a related field (agency experience is a plus)
  • Smart, creative, assertive and innovative individual who thrives in an extremely fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility and willingness to collaborate with teams
  • Must be a versatile writer with both creative and technical writing experience
  • Must demonstrate an understanding of media relations (direct experience is a plus)
  • Proven ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks and competing deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

 

Account Executive Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, English or a related field
  • At least two years of full-time, relevant experience in public relations or a related field (agency experience is a plus)
  • Smart, creative, assertive and innovative individual who thrives in an extremely fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility and willingness to collaborate with teams
  • Must be a talented and versatile writer with both creative and technical writing experience
  • Media relations experience with a successful track record of pitching and securing opportunities
  • Successful track record of developing strategic public relations and social media campaigns
  • Proven ability to manage multiple client accounts in a variety of industries
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

 

For more information about these and other positions, visit our Careers page. To apply, send your cover letter, resume with references, and writing samples to Greta Snell at greta@dittoepr.com.

The one tool that can optimize your intern project workflow

Managing the part-time schedules, varying skill levels and alternating projects for multiple interns can be hard, but adding a single visual management tool to your office can make it simpler.

Enter: the Kanban board.

The board gets its genius from the Kanban system, which communicates the status, nature and context of work all in one physical space. This type of tool is especially valuable for efficiency and workflow because it plays on the natural practice of the brain, which processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

Creating a Kanban board in your office serves as a way for interns to map their individual workflow as well as—at a glance—show the team who is working on what and when.

How it started

Although the method has been popularized by Silicon Valley startups in recent years, the Kanban technique stems from a Toyota production system developed in the 1940s. Assembly line workers displayed colored cards to notify workers downstream about demand for parts. Kanban is the Japanese word for “visual signal” or “card.”

Because of the highly visual nature of the method, workers were able to see what work needed to be done and when, as well as take measures to maximize efficiency and minimize waste on the line.

What it is

To create a Kanban board to manage intern projects in your space, hang up a physical whiteboard, get some dry erase markers and stockpile sticky notes. If you work remotely, consider building an online Kanban board using an online platform like Trello.

At its simplest, the board can be divided into three columns: “waiting,” “in progress” and “completed.” The type and number of sections can be changed depending on the project needs of your company. The board at Dittoe Public Relations includes an urgent column to signify projects that need the immediate attention of interns. There are also rows that divide projects up by the day of the week for further organization.

After the Kanban grid is laid out, start by having employees stick color-coded sticky notes with projects for interns in the first column. Each one should include the name of the employee who placed the project on the board, the date assigned, the deadline and a brief description of the project at hand.

To break it down even further, use various colors to signify different types of projects, such as blue notes for writing and red ones for research.

When beginning a new project, interns should write their name on the note selected and meet with the employee who placed the sticky on the board to get complete project details. Interns can then move the sticky into the proceeding sections as they move through the project until complete.

Why your office needs one

This type of workflow management is especially effective for interns and new employees because it allows them to visualize their projects, notice the pace of their work and grow their sense of accountability within the company. A Kanban also creates a sense of transparency — out in the open, the board holds interns accountable for the projects they choose and the deadlines associated with each project.

On the flip side, those who manage interns can use the board to gain valuable insight into their interns’ work. Are employees assigning too many or too few projects to interns? Are there too many writing projects and not enough research projects? Is an intern gravitating towards a certain type of project, and what work can be placed on the board to strengthen their skills in that area?

By creating and utilizing a Kanban board, companies will create a new, visual standard of work not only for your interns – but the entire company.

And besides, finally moving a sticky into the “complete” column after many status updates gives your interns even more satisfaction than crossing a task off their to-do list. Is there anything better than that?

 

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