Are your corporate communication channels crisis-ready?
By Cola Herrero-Driver
As the coronavirus has highlighted, corporate channels need to be ready to handle a crisis. Effective publishing processes help ensure critical content can be deployed to relevant audiences in a matter of moments.
Are you fighting fit?
In the hectic world of corporate communications, there will be situations where your corporate channels aren't ready to handle a crisis. To deliver effective crisis communications, we recommend addressing these five considerations:
1. A robust and flexible CMS
You cannot update or add pages easily, or you may need a dedicated person for this. Can you rely on your website supporting a huge increase in traffic? Are you able to get a statement or article uploaded and published with within 10 minutes if required?
2. Your signal of intent
Your company agrees unanimously that a specific event or issue is the only priority right now. Can your website easily be tuned to focus on the situation at hand, and push all other content into the background?
3. A separate tone of voice
During a crisis, your stakeholders need to hear from credible individuals within the organisation. A well-built corporate website and flexible CMS will provide you with an effective channel to adopt a more conversational tone with your audience quickly. Do you have faith that your corporate website can do this?
4. Social media
With your website ducks in a row, the most pressing things are then to ensure that your social media presence is right, and you have the facility in place to communicate swiftly with all stakeholders.
Concerned customers and shareholders will probably turn to their own news feed of choice, whether that’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This is where you need to be, telling your side of a story and providing updates, and where time permits, short videos.
5. Communicating effectively internally
Not all employees will have easy access to your intranet or internal collaboration channels, especially those on the shop floor.
An important component to business continuity is the ability to communicate with all colleagues consistently, swiftly and effectively. When a crisis occurs, communication needs to be immediate, and the best way to do this is through text messaging.
We help our clients set up and test run email and SMS alert systems for many reasons, including:
- Ensuring employees are safe
- Keep employees informed and updated
- Mobilising teams quickly
- Keep colleagues connected
It’s much more effective to test these things now, than to find out you have a problem during a live incident, so we also urge those clients to create regular test schedules and stick to them.
Most communications plans focus on what happens during the actual crisis, but when you’re ready to return to 'business as usual', its equally important to communicate that message too. Letting everyone know that no further messages will be sent regarding this incident keeps everyone on the same page.
- Can you update your website at short notice, and who can do that for you? Do you have out-of-hours contact numbers for those responsible for the CMS?
- Is it worth preparing crisis pages which can be edited and published quickly during an incident?
- If you haven't done so already, run a crisis comms test scenario to ensure that the right people are in the loop – those updating the corporate website and intranet, your PR team and those controlling your social media accounts.
- How do you communicate with internal stakeholders who don’t have easy access to your intranet?
How can we help
We understand that you and your team have new challenges given the coronavirus situation. If you need us, we are here to help support you with messaging, content updates and tools to bolster your digital communications.
Read more about crisis communications and dark sites.