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When preparing for a crisis, it’s essential to imagine potential scenarios and how they might pan out. Doing so will allow you to create protocols that determine staffing, messaging needs and
outreach (or lack thereof).

We’ve outlined 4 Crisis Levels with specific indicators to help you navigate the situationap propriately: Dormant, Active, Serious and Severe.

Level 1: Dormant
In this case, the crisis draws little to no awareness, and the general public, media and influencers are unaware. In these instances, it’s important to have messaging like holding statements in place in case matters escalate, but it’s not an “all-hands-on-deck” scenario.

Level 2: Active
In this scenario, an incident may (or may not) have happened and is currently under investigation, and there’s moderate, steady media attention. At this level, your external partners (companies you work with, board members, etc.) might be getting media requests. Immediate communication about the next steps with your stakeholders and the general public is essential. You want them to know you take the situation seriously and are investigating internally.

Level 3: Serious
At this level, media is developing considerable interest. Reporters might be onsite at the incident, and outside parties (who may or may not be involved) are beginning to speak publicly on the incident. This is where it becomes an “all-hands-on-deck” scenario. Your Crisis Communications Committee must have messaging in place, spokespeople prepped and professionals on board to mitigate reporter inquiries.

Level 4: Severe
We refer to this scenario as “DEFCON 1.” You are in a full-blown crisis: print and broadcast media have emerged onsite for live reporting; the public MAY BE expressing outrage, and media is consistently pressing you for information. This is when your professional, seasoned spokespeople and response architects should be in place to triage response and build a recovery strategy with you. Your attorneys should have their sleeves rolled up, advising on legal strategy and be in close touch with your communicators.

The Mach 1 Group has helped organizations navigate every Crisis Level. On good days, we help inoculate against a potential reputation crisis. On bad days, we parachute in to handle some of the most challenging crises organizations can face, managing and mitigating reputational assaults, stabilizing and rebuilding. For more information on how we can help, CLICK HERE.

Alice Claiborne

Author Alice Claiborne

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