It started with a scare. It grew to a frenzy. And by the time stores were running out of hand sanitizer and facemasks, it was full-blown panic for the general public. We’re talking about the coronavirus outbreak and thousands of confirmed cases to-date. No, it’s not as bad as the flu. The economic impact, however, could be so much greater.
Everyday life has somehow changed. Trade shows have been cancelled. Airlines have stopped servicing certain destinations. Even the businesses that we visit daily as part of our usual routines – such as our local gyms, which Gold’s Gym CEO Adam Zeitsiff addressed in a recent Men’s Health article – are taking all the precautions they can to keep germs from spreading.
No industry has been untouched, and the media has covered it non-stop.
But speaking of “touching,” how long has it taken companies to get into a mode of preparedness with their teams and for the sake of their customers and the public at-large?
When a situation like COVID-19 is driving headlines across the country and around the world along with a string of confirmed cases…and deaths…nobody should be asking themselves: “What do we do?” “What should we say?”
If you don’t have a crisis PR plan, here’s your global warning to get one.
PR agencies will come to the rescue when an emergency situation presents itself. But the best agency/client relationships result in formal crisis plans well before one even happens.
So, if you feel like you or your business has dodged a bullet so far, don’t walk into the happy sunset just yet. Before you know it, another threat may loom ahead. And invariably it doesn’t come with early warning signs so you can get your ducks in a row before the media comes calling.
What would you do if a TV crew showed up at your business unannounced?
Who would speak for your brand and your team with authority in the event of an unexpected emergency?
How would you handle a threat that could send customers (and revenues) away in a panic?
Your next COVID-19 could be:
– a natural disaster
– a food-borne illness
– a rogue employee
– a theft or robbery
– a fire
– a lawsuit
– workplace violence
– franchise closings…and more
Are you ready for that surprise? If not, you need to be.
The investment in a formal crisis PR plan could be far less than the financial repercussions of these issues without one. A good crisis program will prepare your team, identify anticipated problems, outline communication channels, address approved responses, build social media best practices, establish strict media guidelines and more.
With 20 years of agency experience, BizCom has produced these programs to serve very important and proactive needs for our clients. So, as you strive to wash our hands more in the wake of the coronavirus scare, please give the same attention to your crisis PR preparedness.