Do you know who to turn to in times of crisis? You need to have a plan. Organizations, corporations, and institutions of all types regularly find themselves facing cybersecurity attacks or data breaches. In addition, you may face negative social media posts that go viral. And, there’s always the ever-present threat of litigation. It’s more common than ever for crises to strike without warning. That’s why it’s crucial for your organization to establish a Crisis Communications Team (CCT) in advance. That team will work to ensure you can address all emergencies appropriately and in the most strategic way possible.
Who to Turn to in Times of Crisis: Your CCT
So, what exactly is a CCT and what does it do?
A CCT is a group of individual members of your organization that is responsible for verifying information at the first sign of a crisis, assessing the level of the crisis, determining the need to share information, developing a communications plan and core messaging, drafting statements and talking points as appropriate, and more.
The members will vary depending on the type of business or organization it represents and the issue at hand. Teams should be comprised of select trusted professionals. These members will weigh in on the crisis, disseminate information when appropriate, handle media inquiries, and much more.
Crisis situations require early CCT engagement, monitoring, and preparation of communications as needed. They must tailor the response to each incident based on the distinct issues, timeline, key stakeholders, and ultimate goals, among other concerns.
Why is a CCT important?
It’s simple. Emergencies can arise at any moment and without warning. Without a CCT in place, it’s easy to create a whirlwind of misinformation, malicious gossip, negative press, financial stress, safety threats, and impulsive decisions. We want you to feel as prepared as possible to protect your company, team members, clients, and community.
Who should serve on your CCT?
Generally, common “permanent” CCT members include the company’s CEO, attorney, HR representative, board president, communications director and, if applicable, principal.
You may add additional members to the CCT when appropriate. For example, if the crisis at hand is a data breach, the CCT will need to bring in a technical support representative to evaluate the breach and speak to its severity. Or, if the crisis revolves around employee misconduct within a particular department, the CCT may want to involve an additional department member to corroborate the accounts of the situation and provide context.
When should you call on your CCT?
Your CCT is there to protect your brand. For that reason, any time your brand may be at risk, you can call on your CCT. Situations could be as drastic as active shooters, hostage situations or bomb threats, to more mild incidents such as dress code violations, inappropriate remarks, or social media posts – and all the in-betweens.