While every company is optimistic about the future, we must admit that businesses today are operating in a highly volatile environment, especially, since the outbreak of the pandemic. Any business can suddenly find itself in the middle of a crisis. It can be anything from a serious breakdown in the supply chain to even product issues.
As an IR/PR expert, what you need to consider and prepare for is the reaction of your investors and shareholders in the wake of a crisis. Any crisis is sure to shake investors’ confidence and can even damage the company’s reputation in the long run.
Your investors and shareholders will be one of the first people who will try to reach out to you for information (and clarifications). It is necessary that you listen attentively and provide them genuine information that will reinstate their confidence in the business. Unless you create a strong relationship of trust with your investor community, they will resort to other ways of seeking information and that can have disastrous consequences for your business.
There is only one way to effectively handle a crisis situation and emerge victorious — a strong crisis communication plan. And here’s how you can start making one –
1. Understand your vulnerabilities
Try to understand the vulnerabilities of your business and ascertain the kind of crisis situations that might arise anytime in the future. Study the trends in your particular industry to see the kind of problems you might run into. Take stock of your company’s resources and capabilities to better understand potential problems. You can also conduct a competitor analysis to try to determine the kind of problems your competitors have faced and how they handled it.
2. Choose a crisis response team
Select spokespersons from your team who would be ideal to represent the company in case of a crisis. Create a small, crisis response team that would be responsible for leading your communication and IR/PR efforts from the front. Talk to them and prepare them to be ready to face any challenges. They should also rehearse their response strategy to investor queries and concerns. In sensitive times like a crisis, your top priority should be to address the concerns of your investors and strongly convey to them that their interest is your primary focus.
3. Finalize your messaging in advance
If possible, create a template response in advance that is ready to be sent out to all stakeholders when a crisis hits. By drafting a message in advance, you can ensure that you are able to convey the desired message to your investors. During a crisis, it can be tweaked a little to suit whatever situation the business is facing and can immediately be sent out to everyone. A quick response like that can be your best line of defense in a crisis.
These are just some of the ways that I have adopted in drafting a crisis communication plan for my clients. It has shown wonderful results over the years and I hope you would be able to reap similar benefits in your practice.
Wishing you health and success in these challenging times.
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