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By Monica Braganca, Account Director

Crisis communications is often only prioritised during an actual crisis. Most crises scenarios play out as follows, something unexpected happens, media person gets a hold of the story and contacts client, client has panic attack and asks that media person contacts PR agency, and PR agency then tries to make heads and tails of a situation and find the best route forward to best protect client’s name, brand and reputation.

These little surprises that turn everyone’s world upside down for a moment can be avoided or minimised to some degree with advance preparation.

For those communicators not doing this already, crisis communications should be a firm fixture on all client status reports, strategies and plans. Creating a solid platform from which to work from means clients are committed and involved from the very beginning, there is ongoing scenario planning and a bank filled with already drafted holding statements and Q&As ready to be used when needed. To take the preparation one step further, the communications and exec teams should be media trained on a continuous basis.

One of my mentors and close-friend always used the analogy of a piggy bank, which I loved for its simplicity. During a crisis we cannot afford to crack the piggy bank and expect to have everything there for us ready to use, it requires preparation ahead of time and ongoing deposits, so that when a crisis does come about and you have to crack the bank, you have everything you need in hand best manage the situation.

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