PR & Media
Author: David Ing
PR & Media
No business is immune to crises, especially when working in high-risk industries like construction and the built environment. The repercussions of a crisis can be devastating, causing fast and irreparable damage to a company’s brand and reputation. It can take years to build a brand and minutes to lose it! It’s therefore crucial for every business operating within these sectors to be prepared with a solid crisis communications plan.
A crisis can take many forms, from accidents on-site to the actions of employees to incidents that have an impact on a local community. And in today’s world of instant digital communication, negative news can spread like wildfire, making it imperative for companies to know what steps need to be taken and how to handle the crisis and any potential fallout.
As a specialist construction PR agency, Fabrick has been managing crises in construction and the wider built environment for nearly four decades. Here are our top seven steps for effective crisis communications management:
1. Identify the risk
Before you can identify and create solutions to potential crises, you must be proactive and determine the internal and external risks that may pose a threat to your business. Gather a broad spectrum of personnel together and ask as many ‘what if…’ questions that you can think of. The data gathered from this exercise will help ensure you can then have the appropriate solutions in place.
2. Develop a crisis management plan
With a clear understanding of the risks facing your business, it is imperative to now develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the necessary steps and protocols to follow in the event of a crisis. This plan should involve all members of your organisation, from the first point of contact to senior managers. It should identify the roles and responsibilities of each individual, initial actions to be taken, guidelines for media enquiries, and communication strategies to avoid negative impact.
3. Stay calm and establish the facts
It is crucial to stay level-headed and avoid reacting to the situation on impulse. Even though it’s important to take charge of the situation immediately, it does not mean you must respond immediately. Take time to gather all the facts so you can make informed decisions.
4. Don’t ignore social media
Social media can amplify a story at an alarming pace and spread it to a massive audience. As a result, your crisis management plan should carefully consider the impact of social media. It's crucial to monitor what people are posting about the crisis and provide clear guidance to staff on what to do and not do.
5. Make a statement
Effective media relations are crucial for managing a crisis, and issuing a statement can help you regain control of the narrative. It's important to ensure that the tone and language of your statement are appropriate and respectful, conveying a thoughtful and considered message.
6. Consider additional support
To effectively manage certain crises, additional support may be necessary. This could come in the form of a communications agency or legal representation. Based on our experience, it is highly recommended to include these professionals in your crisis management team.
7. Plan for the future
To ensure that your business is equipped to handle a crisis, it is important to have a plan for what to do after the crisis has passed. How can you shift the narrative and cast a positive light on your company?
At Fabrick, we are experts in crisis communications for the built environment. Our experienced marketing and communications professionals can assist with the development of your Crisis Communications Plan/Strategy, manage all media enquiries, provide media training for your staff, and implement marketing plans to improve your brand’s positive awareness.
For more in-depth advice, you can find our E-Book “7-Step Guide to Crisis Communications in the Built Environment” here.
If you require additional assistance in preparing your business for a crisis, please do not hesitate to contact us.