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October 21, 2011
PR Crisis Plans Need Staff Involvement
 
Tony Popwski doesn't want to sound like a "Debbie Downer" in urging that PR firms create crisis management plans because you never know what might bite you. No problem. That's actually being "Peter Prudence." Every PR firm (and most of their clients, too) should have standby crisis response plans. Tony includes six steps toward crafting such a plan.
 
His approach is on the mark. The only problem we have with his planning process is that explicit mention of a firm's staff is left for the sixth, and last, step. "Finally, inform your staff of all action plans..." Actually, the first step should have be to convene the staff, discuss the advisability of having a crisis communication plan, and invite or assign their input into developing one. The staff should be part of this process all the way, especially since they're likely to be deputized to perform given roles should a crisis occur. They may also be rostered to serve as duty people, so there will always be a spokesperson and support available in a crisis.
 
Tony does advise as the first step "Brainstorm all possible scenarios..." Possibly he envisions including the staff in that exercise. Hope so.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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