COVID-19 Crisis Communications: How Much Worse Could It Get?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

We’re all more than a month deep into various forms of crisis communications for COVID-19. So, how much worse could it get? Let’s talk frankly about that.

You are exhausted.

  • Zoom meetings
  • Strategy meetings
  • News releases
  • Employee communications
  • Social media
  • Schooling the kids with distance learning

Oh yea, and don’t forget the flood, the tornado, the hurricane, the chemical release, the fire, the explosion, and the power outage.

Wait, what?

“No!” you say. “I already have a crisis. I’m dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. That’s my crisis.”

Reality check. That’s one of your crises.

Amid the exhaustion around COVID-19, you must avoid the myopic belief that you have somehow been given permission to focus only on one crisis at a time. The hardcore truth is, you must be ready for more.

Are you ready for:

  • COVID-19 + Flood
  • COVID-19 + Tornado
  • COVID-19 + Hurricane
  • COVID-19 + Chemical Spill
  • COVID-19 + Fire and Explosion
  • COVID-19 + Power Outage

When you apply the 5-Steps to Effective Crisis Communications strategy, you see there is work that still must be done to prepare for a compound crisis.

You must multitask and keep your teams focused on the reality and the possibilities of “What else?”

  • Vulnerability assessments must be updated to account for new combinations of events that take social distancing into account.
  • Your crisis communications plan must be updated to handle multiple, simultaneous crises.
  • Your library of news releases must account for your current events with a COVID-19 twist, for example, if an evacuation is called, how is that accomplished in a COVID-19 environment.
  • Your media training must be updated to account for remote, online interviews.
  • Your crisis communications drills should account for how teams will coordinate activities when all or part of the team is working remotely.

As always, if you need help with any of your 5-Step process, reach out. You can use this link to schedule a free 15-minute call.

The reality is that COVID-19 may seem overwhelming. But don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that you can put everything else on the shelf until COVID-19 has passed.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Daniel Jerez on Unsplash

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