In today’s world, it seems that tragedy strikes all too often. From natural disasters to mass shootings, these events can impact communities in profound ways. It’s important for organizations to be prepared to handle communications during difficult times, not only to maintain a positive reputation, but also to show empathy. Sometimes that means taking a brief pause from business as usual.
Some clear, recent examples of events that warranted a communications pause include: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol and the horrific school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. These events shook communities, demanded an appropriate and timely response and shifted operations across the board in the weeks following.
At Mach 1, we help organizations during these crucial moments — but also during crises of all shapes and sizes. Here is how we help determine when it is necessary to hit pause on an ongoing or scheduled communications campaign:
- Does this tragedy impact the organization’s operations?
- Did it impact the city, state or region they represent?
- Does it have a direct connection to their industry or political affiliations?
- Do we have planned social content, ads, interviews or public appearances that could be deemed insensitive due to the issue?
If the answer is YES to any of these questions, it’s a good indicator that we should halt, review and, in some cases, recalibrate.
Setting up a crisis response plan and internal approval process is the best way to improve rapid response efforts while preparing a holding statement will help communications teams formulate an apt response under pressure.
We can’t predict when or where a tragedy or crisis event will strike, but we can be prepared for a fitting response.