Sample Research Paper on Crisis Communications Plan

Purpose

            This crisis communication plan is intended to provide the policies and procedures within this organization. These include measures that should be applied in the event of an emergency or a controversial issue that affects the reputation of the organization (Oscarsson & Danielsson, 2017). It is important to preserve the good reputation of this organization, as it affects the attitudes of the customers and also on the price of the organization’s stock in the exchange market.       

Situations and Assumptions

            This company is concerned about how it would communicate to the stakeholders inclusive of the management, the workforce, customers, suppliers and creditors in the event of an emergency or a controversy in the organization. Presently, the use of the modern means of communication is minimal, with the company concentration of the use of the conventional and traditional means of communication such as hardcopy mails, memos, posts and notices. These are modes of communication that are getting phased out by digital communication channels, and the variety involved in the digital channels is greater than conventional modes (Oscarsson & Danielsson, 2017). The assumption made in this plan is that the company has access to the relevant hardware, software and network needed to implement digital communication that will make use of the online platform to communicate with the stakeholders.

Audience Profiles

            The audience targeted by this communication plan include the investors, customers, the employees, the creditors and suppliers. The investors are concerned about the reputation of the organization, as it affects the price of the shares of the company at the stock market. It can also affect the profitability of the company and consequently, the dividends received by the investors. The customers are very important stakeholders of the organization, as they are the consumers of the products and services of the organization. The reputation of the organization needs to be good to maintain the goodwill of the customers. The employees of the organization are the ones that are usually in contact with the customers. They are the ones that will be at the center of the implementation of the policies and procedures described in this communications plan. The willingness of the creditors and suppliers are concerned with the reputation of the company, as it informed their decision whether to transact with it or otherwise.

Review of Leadership Hierarchy and Approval Processes

            The topmost person in the formulation and implementation of crisis communication plan is the vice president for communications in the company, who effectively controls the internal and public relations of the company. The communications department of the company will be responsible for the training of the management and workforce of the company on the new policies and procedures guiding crisis communication.

Key Communication Strategies

            To maintain a good reputation, the organization will have to forge a positive relationship with the mainstream media. This is because the media will air the status of the company when a crisis strikes, and any misrepresentation of information will result in damage to the reputation of the company. The second strategy that should be adopted by the company is to establish authority early in the crisis using the senior management person with the role of speaking on behalf of the company. The third strategy that will be considered in this plan will be to provide factual information in measured steps to avoid speculations that might spiral out of control. The organization will then continue managing the story even after the crisis has been properly managed by the relevant parties of the organization.

Delegation of Responsibilities

            When addressing issues that have to do with the company, it is the responsibility of the VP communications his or her department. However, in times of crisis, there is a need to have the most gifted communicators involved in the dissemination of information to the media and the public.

Evaluation of Communication Efforts

            The management of crisis via communication to the public and media is intended to salvage the reputation of the organization and consequently, the performance. The performance of the company in various metrics before, during and after the crisis will be used to evaluate the performance of the communication efforts in addressing the crisis.

Guidelines Addressing Social Media

When addressing the public via social media, it is imperative for the organization to acknowledge that social media wields a lot of power in determining the opinion of the public regarding an organization. The freedom of expression in social media means that the organization should expect a lot of false red flags and should consider that before taking any action to manage a perceived crisis (Cheng, 2016). The first consideration that should be made is to define a crisis correctly. Once a crisis has been confirmed, the next step is to identify the key message that will be communicated to the public to avert the crisis (Cheng, 2016). This is followed by monitoring the updates and feedback from the public. The brand impact of the social media communication is then assessed and the organization prepared to deal with crises in the long-term. The last step is to update the crisis management plan using the competency gained from the crisis that has just been solved.

 

 

References

Cheng, Y. (2016). How Social Media Is Changing Crisis Communication Strategies: Evidence from the Updated Literature. Journal Of Contingencies And Crisis Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12130

Oscarsson, O., & Danielsson, E. (2017). Unrecognized crisis management-Normalizing everyday work. Journal Of Contingencies And Crisis Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12176