The Importance of Planning for Crisis Communications

Adaptable companies that are receptive to change hold a strong competitive advantage in today’s evolving business environment. Changing how a company communicates during a crisis can have a significant impact not only on its reputation and external perception, but also on its investment eligibility, bottom line, and long-term viability. Outlined below are a number of critical communication priorities that have been found to endure through an ever-changing corporate landscape:

1. Company-specific tailored messaging
Every company has a unique crisis response based on its industry, structure, and internal culture. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crisis communications, and it is important for a company to thoughtfully craft their own tailored response, particularly considering the circumstance or situation to be managed. Unique stories and messaging can help companies to earn trust from their clients, customers, capital providers and partners, while standing out from competitors.

2. Clear and transparent communication
Audiences have increased their demand for clear and concise information about what is happening within a company, and the tolerance for muddled communications that obfuscate what is really happening has significantly decreased. Confusion and uncertainty will often lead to negative assumptions, and the credibility and trust that comes with transparency can have lasting benefits for all stakeholders.

3. Prioritizing people
The health, safety, and wellbeing of employees, and the public who may be impacted by an emergency situation, must be a top priority during any crisis. This is essential to maintaining a safe and engaged workforce – whether employees are working from home or in-office – and to maintaining trust from the public. It can have a significant impact on external perception, investment eligibility, and future hiring ability. Establishing open lines of communication with employees and the general public, during an incident, can serve to improve business operations on several fronts, including maintaining company morale, fostering productive dialogue across stakeholder groups and supporting employee mental health by mitigating uncertainty in how the company is responding to the crisis.

4. Leveraging a variety of communication methods
In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, it is crucial for companies to utilize a wide range of platforms and mechanisms for communication in order to reach a broad audience. The public’s consumption of information from various sources, coupled with the trend of remote work, has made it even more imperative to provide employees with diverse channels to connect with colleagues and management. This can include utilizing virtual tools such as video conferencing, chat applications, and project management platforms. Moreover, businesses must recognize that stakeholder engagement is no longer limited to one-way communication channels like press releases. Instead, the public is actively seeking out news and information through a variety of social media platforms, online forums, and chat rooms. To stay relevant and be part of the conversation, companies must adapt and leverage diverse communication channels.

5. Discussing negative impacts
It is important to be open about potential negative impacts, including changes to operations or public perception. Keeping stakeholders advised will help them make sense of the company’s response and enable them to observe the positive steps a company is taking to mitigate future risk. Avoiding these topics will raise questions and can lead to uncertainty or doubt, since such topics are usually top of mind for the audience.

In conclusion, the current business landscape requires companies to be adaptable in their communication strategies in order to succeed, both during crises and in everyday business. Regardless of the audience, during a crisis situation, companies need to prioritize employee and the public’s wellbeing, tailored messaging, transparent communication, and flexibility in communication methods. Openly discussing negative impacts and corresponding proactive initiatives will further serve to foster trust and credibility with stakeholders. These communication priorities will continue to be critical for long-term success and growth, especially as companies evolve and adapt to changing circumstances.



In today’s business world, a strategic approach to your corporate communications is essential. With each IR program we develop, you are connected with the right audience — one that resonates with your company’s brand and values.