There would be no worse tragedy than a company caught flatfooted by a reputation crisis. It is like going to war without adequate training, without knowing the enemy and without the right weapons. Thorough preparations need to be made to prepare the whole organization on what to do incase of a reputation crisis unfolding.
A sound corporate reputation management policy should be established as a first step in preparing for a crisis. This policy will guide all concerned with the response on what to do and when. It will stipulate the steps that the company should take to counter the effects of such a crisis, the team to respond and how to respond. Other preparation steps are the following:
- Identify the possible sources of a crisis: While most reputation crises these days will stem from online activity, it is also prudent to be ready for an offline crisis as well. Isolate the main suspects and monitor their online presence from time to time. This could help the response team to snuff out the threat before it goes viral.
- Create a response team: To avoid confusion as to who should do when in a crisis, the corporate reputation management policy should create a standing response team. These are the only people who will engage the media and stakeholders when the crisis becomes apparent. This will also eliminate the possibility of turf wars amongst the departments.
- Train the crisis team: The selected response team should be trained on how to respond to the crisis. From the recommendation of the corporate reputation management team, the company can invite experts in countering reputation crises to train the team.
- Have all the channels of communication working: You may need to contact the shareholders, clients, supplies and the general public of the company’s position on the issue at hand. This means all the print, electronic and online functions should be ready.
- Publish a crisis manual: A published manual is good for reference. It should be the guiding light when there is a crisis to be responded to. It should be practical though; a manual too detailed and technical is not appropriate in a crisis situation. It should be simplified and workable.
- Test the company’s responsiveness: The company should organize for a mock crisis to gauge the responsiveness of its response team once in a while. This will keep the team on its toes and refreshed at all time.
Not preparing for a crisis is preparing for a disastrous response. Vancouver reputation management agency should involve everybody in the organization albeit in a limited role for most people. It should always be imparted to the staff on the value of a good company reputation.