For any marketing or PR person who has had to deal with a major crisis situation, the horrific events that have happened in Japan will bring back memories.
The scale of death and destruction caused by the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan is beyond comprehension.
Even so, there are countless lessons to be learned, and actions to be taken in advance of the next disaster. The Japanese experience reinforces the fact that accurate information is an essential tool for dealing with such a crisis.
It’s easy to look at the aerial photos on the evening news and think, “That’s terrible. Fortunately it can’t happen to us.”
That line of thinking assumes that only large and vulnerable entities are at risk.
But it is not a matter of scale. The failure of a small company’s $5,000 server can impact the small number of people who work with it. And if it shuts down or fails, the impact can affect hundreds or thousands of customers who rely on it.
For catastrophes large and small, the key is planning. Working with our clients we ask, what are the most likely crisis occurrences? What actions should you be prepared to take? What communication tools should you have in place? Who is authorized to speak to the press? Are the spokespeople trained in dealing with reporters?
When the plan is complete, train everyone in its use. Then hope you never have to use it.