At Escalate, our crisis communications programs are grounded in principles we’ve formulated over years counseling clients of varying sizes and industries in real-world crisis scenarios. These include data breaches, workplace accidents, boycotts, natural disasters, and management upheaval, informing our plan development and preparation approach.

Whether it be crisis plan development, crisis response, or monitoring, our crisis response principles include:

  • Locked and Loaded: The more advanced preparation we have in place, the faster we can shift into response mode and start audience engagement. We put clearly defined roles and responsibilities in place, tracking executive spokesperson availability, updated contact lists, statement templates, ready-to-blast media email lists and call-down logs, direct access to the website, and social and employee channels.
  • Measured Response: Given that our goal is to re-establish trust with our stakeholders, it’s critical that we create a thoughtful, measured response to any given scenario. That means we need to fully assess and make a pre-determination of the likelihood and extent of media interest in the story.  In most instances, by measured response, we mean that we are looking to minimize media coverage and fallout. It’s essential that we map the volume of our response to the arc of the story and pull back when we detect that interest is fading. Matching the right tone to the given scenario is also key to creating audience empathy; this tone could be aggrieved, apologetic, disdainful, or forgiving depending on the scenario
  • Establishing Control: To achieve desired outcomes, we must exert control over the communications environment. The first point of communication should be our holding statement.  Next, the communications team responds to media Q&A’s primarily with written responses. If the situation warrants a spokesperson, wait until we are confident in the facts regarding the scenario and put the right spokesperson armed with our key messages in front of the suitable media. We want to use as few spokespeople as possible to ensure message consistency. Our team works to establish boundaries with the media regarding the interview topics to be discussed in advance.
  • Communication transparency: Not only is it important that we communicate the facts as we know them with transparency, accountability, and authenticity to rebuild trust, but we also need to assume that every written communication we create, including internal memos, can be made public.