The questions you must ask in crisis response

You must know your audience.

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Ask these questions before and during a crisis

Practice, practice, practice.

How do you survive a crisis?

Audience, audience, audience.

Forgive the spin on the ancient joke. But understanding your audience and their expectations is the key to weathering any crisis.

That was the message delivered by James Shackelford, APR, vice president of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, in his presentation on crisis rapid response principles at Ragan’s Strategic Communications Conference.

Shackelford offered a list of questions you should ask when developing your crisis plan — and the majority of them have to do with knowing your audience. But before you start on those, he recommends starting by building out a brand persona, just like you would a customer persona. Understanding who you are as an organization ahead of time helps you be better prepared to react in the moment.

The biggest, overarching question to ask is: What is the reputational impact of this moment? Do we need to act or not?

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