Unit 4: Designing a Crisis Communication Plan (CCP)
There is no one size fits all when it comes to crisis communication plans (CCP). This is true whether you are designing a CCP for a government agency, nonprofit organization, or private company. However, there are some key elements that each CCP is expected to include in the broad terms of pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis actions. When spelled out in the CCP, you want to be sure to address pre-crisis preparations, safety, notifications of key staff, listing the crisis communication team (CCT), their functions and their contact information, situation assessments, developing key messages, media releases, and communication updates. There is always a need to address post-crisis actions such as evaluating how the CCT performed and lessons learned before starting the cycle again to prepare for the next crisis. In this unit, you will learn about the basic components of the crisis communication plan and how to develop a CCP in a digital format. Regardless of the format, the CCP should be coordinated among all participating agencies and organizations. It should be tested or practiced to see what works and what does not work so modifications can be made before you really need to use it.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- describe the function of a crisis communication plan (CCP);
- explain how to design a CCP, and perform this task; and
- explain how to test a CCP, and perform this task.
4.1: What Type of Information Does a CCP Contain?
Study this document to learn what a CCP is and to understand what a complete and detailed crisis communication plan might look like, depending on the nature of the organization or company.
4.2: How to Design a Crisis Communication Plan
Read this section to learn about what type of information to include when developing a CCP. This section includes a checklist for designing an effective crisis communication plan and reviews the characteristics of a crisis communication team. Answer the questions for exercises 2 and 5. Post your response to the PRSM107 Discussion Forum, and review as well as respond to one or two other students' posts.
Also respond to the following prompt on the forum:
Outline the media plan you would need if your technology business office headquarters that housed 1,500 employees was damaged during a natural disaster such as a hurricane. What considerations would you need to have planned and coordinated in advance to have an alternate media center or location for media to gather while covering the news of the hurricane disaster damage to your office headquarters?
Study these slides on 11 steps to developing a digital communication plan. Compare and contrast these steps to the earlier more traditional print formatted crisis plan.
This assessment provides you with a hypothetical scenario to use in creating a brief crisis communication plan description. You should review the sample crisis communication plan in the subunit 4.2 reading, Business Communication for Success. With your hypothetical organization summary, you should be able to address the four key elements of a crisis communication plan in 250-500 words.
4.3: Testing a Crisis Communication Plan
Read this article to learn how tabletop exercises are used to test crisis communication plans. This article illustrates three scenarios:
- a disgruntled employee starts a data center fire
- an explosion at a nearby chemical plant releases deadly toxins
- a pandemic flu hits.