By F+A Staff

Why organizations need to stop thinking about crisis as a static process

Organizations of any size – law firms included – need to change their thinking from “If something bad happens, we will address it then,” to “Issues that have the potential to damage our brand will happen, and we better think about it now.” Every organization – at every point in time – is either in, or should be in one of the following four circular conditions:

  • Preparing – You are actively preparing for the next issue, making sure your team is equipped for what’s coming. Is your current senior leadership media trained? Are your social media tools tuned to listen for early warnings of things to come? Do you have a strategy in place to make decisions when the immediacy of a crisis short-circuits your typical decision-making approach?  Do you have a plan to make sure you know how to reach key people even on holidays?
  • Addressing – If you’ve done your homework and your preparation is set, you or your client will be able to execute your plan when a crisis hits. Certainly, even the most well-honed plan won’t make the issues go away. You will, though, be able to weather the crisis better, avoiding the rudderless feeling that most experience.
  • Monitoring – Once you’ve addressed the crisis, follow news stories, blog posts and social media to see how outlets report the issue. In the social media sphere, a layperson’s comment can be just as impactful as a high-profile reporter’s. As you witness the response, modulate your messages based on the media and public response.
  • Revising – Assess the outcome and re-calibrate your strategy for the next crisis. How clearly did your spokespeople articulate key messages? Did you reach your target audience? What hurdles did your crisis team encounter? With each answer, you’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of the media landscape and public perception, and use this advantage to refine your response strategy.

The cycle is recurrent and the most prepared lawyers recognize the cyclical nature of crisis communication.