If you face a sudden media crisis, being prepared can be the difference between a make or break situation. As a medical association or non-profit, you may not have the budget to support a large-scale management plan and have ongoing support during a crisis, but that’s just a good reason to have an issues management plan in the first place. It may be discouraging to talk about everything that could go wrong, but then prepare for the worst-case scenario, you can survive them.
One of the key issues faced by medical societies is their relationship with the industry and how it’s scrutinized. That’s why it’s important to be open and transparent about where and who your funding is coming from. You can avoid a “gotcha” moment by journalists if you’re upfront about it in the first place by displaying donors and conflict-of-interest and disclosure policies on your website.
Additionally, all relationships within the industry should be disclosed to avoid any serious consequences in the future. For instance, research supported by industry is put under the microscope these days, therefore, full disclosure in terms of scientific endeavors is non-negotiable.
A strong foundation is also key to not getting into any issues in the future. Start on the right foot – do your research and include message testing and a media audit. Take into consideration the issues raised by your stakeholders and make sure there is clear and honest communication so there no unexpected complications come about.
Another main element of crisis management is knowing what not to do. Think of how you want to respond, or not respond, to different issues. If you have a plan in place, you can do research and find out what the best course of action for your organization would be in different circumstances. For example, if a competitor or adversary critiques your organization, there are multiple questions you need to ask before taking a step forward such as will your adversary benefit from you responding? Will it bolster their credibility if you respond? It is important to outline the different scenarios, so you have assessed which scenario will lead to the best outcome.
There are many benefits to creating emergency management plans can benefit organizations in the following ways:
– Organizations can identify what vulnerabilities exist in the environment that could negatively impact its reputation.
– Organizations can conduct research to find out how stakeholders will respond to different messages and issues.
– It can be a great way to find out who are potential friends and foes in social media and among stakeholder groups.
– Organizations can control messaging and prepare a spokesperson to effectively manage issues before they become a crisis.
In order to survive and thrive through difficult scenarios, plan ahead, sort through the worst case scenarios now to ensure the educated steps are taken in the future and avoid panic-based decision making.