How to Navigate COVID-19 with a Crisis Communications Plan

How to Navigate COVID-19 with a Crisis Communications Plan

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this blog post was published in June 2018. It has since been updated to reflect new challenges faced by businesses as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has so clearly demonstrated, every organization—no matter its size or industry—is vulnerable to the ever-looming threat of a crisis. It’s not a question of “if,” but a matter of “when.” How you respond to a crisis can either make or break your organization over the long run.

With this global health crisis in full swing, organizations are scrambling to develop crisis communications plans with best practices on how they should respond to the broad scope of challenges they are facing. Some businesses are adapting existing plans in response to this outbreak, while others are starting completely from scratch.

Though many crises smolder for at least some period of time before eventually emerging to the surface in full force, few organizations actually take the necessary action to prevent or reduce their impact during these early stages. In fact, only 49% of organizations have a crisis response plan in place, and even fewer—just 32%—engage in crisis scenario training, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.

While many uncertainties still exist surrounding the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and its long-term implications, there are several steps that organizations can take right now to improve their prognosis and emerge stronger over the long run. After all, as the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”—and this couldn’t ring truer in the event of a crisis.

By a nearly 2:1 ratio (54% vs. 30%), organizations that have a crisis response plan in place fare significantly better post-crisis compared to those that don’t, according to PwC’s 2019 Global Crisis Survey. In fact, some even reported revenue growth as a direct result of their crisis management. Plus, those that keep their crisis plans up to date and conduct crisis response training are 4x more likely to emerge on top.

In order to successfully navigate and survive a crisis, preparation is key. Your organization must be ready to respond in a prompt, accurate and well-coordinated manner. Having a crisis communications plan in place will ensure that your business representatives are all on the same page when it comes to responding to a crisis—ultimately minimizing its impact and instilling public confidence in your organization.

In this 7-step crisis communications e-book, you’ll learn how to help your business:

  • Identify your crisis management team;
  • Determine your audiences and communication platforms;
  • Create a “dark space,” or pre-built web page, on your website;
  • Thoroughly assess the crisis situation;
  • Develop your key messaging;
  • Deliver your message to target audiences; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your communications.

Is your organization prepared to successfully navigate and survive the COVID-19 pandemic and any other crises that may strike?

Download our FREE Crisis Communications Guide to gain the tools and best practices you need to respond to any crisis.

Ready to Develop a Crisis Communications Plan For Your Organization?

About The Author

As president, Brad Kostka leads business development, agency management and account services. His experience includes communications strategy, branding, content marketing, media relations, marketing automation, investor relations and event planning. Over his 25-plus-year career, he has worked with organizations ranging from global, publicly traded corporations to local startups.