5 common missteps in crisis communication

It’s bound to happen at some point: A data breach will occur, or perhaps some other calamity. Heed these warnings so you’re not caught flatfooted.

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Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if, but when a cyber incident or a data breach will hit your company.

According to Gemalto, in 2018 there were 945 companies that experienced a data breach, which is almost three per day. That means last year, 945 PR teams probably woke up on a random morning to a terrible crisis for which they were ill-prepared.

In looking closely at these crises, we can see a lot of mistakes that PR professionals make that amplify the issue. Here’s what we’re doing wrong:

1. Not starting early enough. Start a crisis plan, and start one now. I realize that it can be tough creating talking points for a crisis that doesn’t exist and hopefully won’t happen. However, having a plan and pre-approved talking points gives you a leg up. Have you ever stared at a blank screen wondering what to write or how to approach something? Perhaps it’s just me. Now imagine staring at a blank screen while your CEO is hovering over your desk. While a reporter is emailing questions. While you’re getting hammered on social media. Writing under those circumstances is exponentially harder. Take the top two or three crises that are keeping your CEO up at night, and start there. Remember that a crisis PR plan doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do need to perfect it over time.

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