Creating a Crisis Management Plan of Action


Dynamic risk assessment is a crucial element of your organisational skillset


Crisis Communications is a large and nebulous area where hazards are immediate and unpredictable, and risks are liable to rapid change. These high-stake situations require an ability to swiftly recognise dangers, assess threats and make the right decisions – to conduct a dynamic risk assessment.

Dynamic risk assessment is a crucial element of your organisational skillset, enabling you to control damage-limitation situations and ultimately make smart decisions regarding your brand. The following pointers will give you a smart overview so that you can spot the pinch points, blind spots, and fatal flaws in advance.

The less you tell people, the more they think you are holding something back. The more you tell people, the sooner they lose interest.

Pre-Emptive Strike - PR Damage Control

  • Conduct a risk assessment to determine what could cause a crisis (both inside and outside your organisation) and consider the worst-case scenarios to make sure your plans are appropriate.

  • If you face a crisis, take time afterwards to review how it was handled so you can avoid or manage similar situations more effectively in the future.

Forewarned and Forearmed: Calling Out the Crisis Communications Team

  • Monitoring - How will you know if there is a problem? Who will alert you? Will you pick it up in media monitoring?

  • Notification - This ties into monitoring. Do selected staff know who to alert if there is a critical issue?

  • Escalation - How will news of that issue need to be escalated within the organisation and to what level? Prudently over-react in calling the Crisis Core Team out, or put them on standby. It is better to be stood down than to be called too late! Make sure you have the right people – not too many! – and establish who has the final say.

  • Mobilisation - If it is decided that a Crisis Core Team should meet, how will you get them together and where? This could be facilitated via a hierarchical communication model designed specifically for this purpose - like a call tree.


First Response – Crisis Comms

Characteristically, when an incident occurs, there are two organizational responses:

  • The operational response – the necessary actions to put out the fire, make the environment safe and prevent a recurrence.

  • The communications response – the process of telling your story to your stakeholders to reassure and protect your reputation.


Stakeholder Response – Crisis Comms

The usual reaction of stakeholders to an incident is evidenced through the SARAH model of change:

  • Shock

  • Anger

  • Rejection

  • Acceptance

  • Help


Know Your Enemy – Crisis Comms

Bad news spreads fast. You must be ready to respond quickly.  If you’re not, you’ll quickly lose control and will be constantly reacting to events, as opposed to managing them.  You must prevent an information black hole and ensure all potential leaks are plugged. Otherwise, the vast vacuum will be substituted by potential enemies and perpetual naysayers unless the Crisis Core Team deliver enough evidence to the contrary. 

In addition, if the public find out something for themselves that you ought to have told them, then your integrity may be damaged beyond repair. Accountability, consistency, honesty, information, and transparency can be channelled as a weapon as well as a defence.


Crisis Types

  • Cobra - a disaster that hits suddenly and takes the company completely by surprise and leaves it in a crisis.

  • Python - the 'slow -burning' crisis or 'crisis creep' - a collection of issues that steal up on the company one by one and slowly crush it.

  • Known Unknown - mishaps owing to the nature of the organisation and its activities

  • Unknown Unknowns - events that cannot be predicted and that can come about from employees’ behavior; unconnected events

When dealing with a crisis communications situation, all businesses should have a pre-emptive plan of action  prepared so they can react and respond immediately, thus preventing the situation from deteriorating exponentially. ALHAUS understand that an effective crisis communications strategy (or lack thereof) can have a significant impact on your business. Our content management experts will ensure that you're ready if and when your brand needs to manage a crisis.

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