Preparing for a crisis is THE critical piece of work that is often left too late.
Don't get caught out. Prepare, practice, tweak and practice again. And again. Then if the worst happens you can be on the front foot ...
Here are our top tips on preparing for a communications crisis as a brand or rights holder:
1. It is never too early to start working on your crisis communications plan. It should sit seamlessly alongside the overall crisis plan.
2. Practice your plan regularly. After the first draft, have a walk through of various different scenarios to ensure no stages are missed, then have regular dry runs.
3. Review: things change in the world of sport, regularly. Assign someone the responsibility of updating the crisis communications plan regularly (weekly/monthly). Check all the contact details, groups, wording and distribution lists.
4. In the event of a crisis go straight to the crisis communications plan and use it. There is always flexibility according to circumstances, but it is there to support and guide with protocol and processes that may be forgotten in the heat of the moment.
5. When in the thick of it, regularly review the incident breaking down what are facts, what are assumptions, the best and worst case scenarios and objectives. Giving clarity to these headings will help guide the actions.
6. Debrief: once the crisis is over bring all the key players together and review how the crisis was handled. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, rather an opportunity to do things better the next time.
Our final piece of advice? Don't be afraid to go in to crisis mode. With preparation, there is a clear plan - it's better to downscale, than starting the crisis communications too late.