Always Be Prepared: What to do in a Crisis

Always Be Prepared

OK, let’s talk about all this craziness going on in the world. Does it feel like everything is upside down to you too?!? Who could have predicted all of this (and if you say you could have, then I’d like your help buying lottery tickets!). Obviously, the health of citizens of every country is of utmost importance above everything else. But, could you have imagined all of the closures (of everything!!) event cancellations, Broadway shows, all sports suspending or cancelling their games, ITALY closing, and any number of things that haven’t been announced yet.

And while everyone is talking about what to do to stay healthy, I wanted to talk about what to do to keep your business healthy, and to help others if you can. Because even if you could have imagined some of this, were you ACTUALLY prepared for it?

Are your Communications in a Crisis?

No matter what industry you’re in, you MUST have a strategic and fulsome Crisis Communications plan in place. And it can’t be something that just sits on a shelf for years. Plans should be in place for any scenario you can think of: accidents, protests, health issues, cancelled programs or events, and more. In this case you may actually be faced with many or ALL of these situations at the same time! So, where do you even start?

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Ensure you have a small group of decision makers who can act swiftly and confidently
  • Do your research on the situation, and be aware of all potential concerns that relate directly to your business
  • Communicate! With your employees. With your customers. With your suppliers. With your agencies. With your families.
  • Be responsive to your audiences at all times. They deserve to know what is happening, and if they are either affected, or maybe if they can help.
  • When the crisis is over, that’s the best time to review your current plan, and determine how it held up. Make some tweaks (or completely revamp it), so you know that you will be prepared when (not if) you come into another situation. 

Plan B

I get it. Everyone is feeling like you’re going to be in crisis mode for the foreseeable, and you’re barely keeping your heads above water. But, now is also a critical time to put your strategic plans in place. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re being affected. But we will all get through this. Together. So, now is the perfect time to think about the future. You probably had a 2020 plan and budget locked down a while ago, and my guess is that’s pretty much out the window. Now is the time to review those plans, make adjustments and think creatively about how you can come out even stronger on the other side.

Maybe you need to rethink an event opportunity or partnership that has fallen through, or reconsider where you’re spending your paid media budgets. Or maybe you actually have money that you didn’t think you were going to have because an event got cancelled. This is the perfect time to reflect on all of those elements and revise your integrated marketing plan to ensure success through the rest of the year.

It Takes a Village

Now that you’ve figured out how your company is going to work through the current situation, it’s time to look outward. There are others who may need your help. The obvious areas are those directly affected by COVID-19 like healthcare workers and retirement communities. But almost everyone will be touched by this, and there are ways you can help. If you are in the fitness industry, can you provide your classes online so that people can access them from home? If you’re in the beverage industry, how can you support your key accounts? If you’re in the retail industry, can you provide delivery service for those who can’t come to your store? If none of those fit, there are a myriad of others. There are kids out of school and parents who don’t know who is going to look after them, university students who need to start working for the summer sooner than expected, hourly workers in the hospitality industry who need to find more work. If you can help in any way, I guarantee you, Karma will be on your side.

Lean on your Neighbours

And if you don’t have all of this figured out yet, don’t freak out….we can help! The Neighbourhood Agency has a LOT of experience in each of these areas, and we are here to support whatever you need. If you want to jump on a quick phone call and talk through your current situation, or if you need to build an entire plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We believe in supporting each other, and helping when others are in need. We hope you do too!

We are better together.

Stay healthy.