Communicate Your Crisis Response Message


Now is the time for all good crisis communicators to come to the aid of their country.  During the unprecedented times Americans face, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, helping the public is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.  Tell your stakeholders what they want to hear:

1- Reaffirm your mission statement and your company values.
2- Explain the challenges you face and what you plan to do to help.
3- Let people know how they will benefit from what you are doing.

Most importantly, explain what is in it for the reader if they take your advice, let people know how to get through this and that they may possibly be stronger as a result of the steps taken to address the crisis. 

One of the best crisis communications teams is at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a governmental organization that communicates early and often about disaster preparedness so that people will be ready to act in their best interest of their families and friends when the unexpected happens.  They not only tell what they are doing, what people can do to help themselves, but they also dispel common myths, due to the spreading of rumors, by telling the public the truth about the issues. 

FEMA went above and beyond just posting a message to their website and blasting it out to major media outlets.  They extended their reach to millions of additional readers nationwide by sending out NAPS Featurettes to cover thousands of community news outlets.  Their message was simple: “Don’t Wait. Communicate.  Make Your Family Emergency Plan Today.”  The article created an awareness of a new, free FEMA app and encouraged readers, to ensure that their friends and family members should have everyone in their households download that, to be prepared to respond resiliently. 

FEMA restated their mission, explained their values to indicate how they would face the challenges to accomplish their goals, and they advised the public about a great way to protect themselves when disaster strikes.  They offered five tips to help the public and two websites for more information.  The public was informed and ready to respond during emergencies. 

During the Coronavirus crisis, the public wants to know how companies, associations and governmental agencies are helping to keep them safe, healthy and prosperous.  Some examples of leaders in this effort are:

1- Amazon, who is hiring more than 100,000 people to satisfy the increased demand for home delivery
2- Citrix, a company that helps manage network connectivity so that people can work remotely
3- Purell manufacturers, who make a hand washing soap product that kills nearly all germs.

Now is the time to tell your story about what you can do to help Americans nationwide to keep calm and carry on.  Don’t wait for the crisis to pass or make the mistake of putting your head in the sand, thinking this situation will be resolved soon enough.  Get the word out to everyone that can benefit from knowing what you can do and join the effort to make a positive change. 

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