Are you ready to communicate in a crisis?

Posted: Mar 25, 2019 by Instinctif Partners

By Brandon Mitchener, Managing Partner, Brussels

Most people have read about crises, and many have managed them, but who would claim to be best-in-class, or prepared for any type of crisis?

I’ve spent much of my professional life dealing with crises. First, as a journalist who dreamed of crises that were among my sources’ worst nightmares—explosions of toxic gases, corporate bankruptcies, whistleblowing scandals, factory deaths, food poisonings... Later, as a consultant, I helped clients manage corporate restructurings and plant closures and plan for bad news from regulators and politicians. As an in-house communications professional, I led the fight against competitors, campaign organisations, social media influencers and anonymous saboteurs whose mission it was to demonise certain technologies or entire companies. I’d say I’m pretty good at preparing for and managing crises.  

Some of my colleagues at Instinctif Partners have not just managed crises but also built some user-friendly tools to help organisations assess their preparedness to weather crises, both internally and externally.

Today, Instinctif Partners is launching CrisisCommsOptic – a diagnostic survey tool that helps users quantify their readiness for crisis communications situations.

“As social media becomes more and more embedded in our lives it is now often user-generated content which drives the pace of a crisis”, explains Victoria Cross, Head of Instinctif Partners’ Business Resilience Practice. “This is why we are launching CrisisCommsOptic. A reputation that has taken years to build can be destroyed in a matter of clicks, if you are not prepared.”

Did I mention that the tool is free for a limited time only?

The survey takes about an hour and covers questions in six key areas, including:

  • Resources – Do you have a dedicated, 24/7 capacity to manage external communications in a crisis?
  • Monitoring – Do you have a process / service for monitoring media and social media, where many crises incubate?
  • Stakeholders – Do you have a process to help you identify all potential internal and external stakeholders with whom you may need to communicate in a pinch?
  • Spokespeople – Do you have trained and approved crisis media spokespeople?
  • Templates – Do you have an approved holding statement on file to fill in the blanks during a crisis?
  • Training & review – Do you have a process identified for the review and continuous improvement of the press office / media and digital media function after a crisis?

The CrisisCommsOptic dashboard provides an accurate indicator of strengths and weaknesses in potential crisis communications situations. For a short time, for free, we will also prepare a short bespoke report with recommendations on how to address the most relevant areas begging for attention.

“Traditionally in crisis communications there was the idea of the golden hour, the time—an hour—within which an organisation had the opportunity to define a story before misinformation and speculation filled the void. This then moved on to become the “platinum five minutes.” Social media and the 24/7 global news cycle mean that an organisation could have just a few seconds before public scrutiny spirals into a crisis. “Anyone with a smartphone is now a citizen journalist – and the impact on crisis management is immediate and profound. Being prepared for communication in a crisis has never been more vital”, says Victoria.

If you’d like to give the tool a try, find an hour and follow this link:

If you have any questions or, unluckily, an immediate crisis, please do contact us at +32-2-626-9500.