Crisis communication: after the cameras have gone

Speaker Post: Amanda Coleman and Jen Green

Over the coming weeks leading to #PRFest, the speakers will blog about their subject area, giving you a flavour of what to expect on the day. 

Last year, Amanda Coleman gave an emotional presentation about the crisis communication strategy and learnings of the Manchester terrorist attack. This year, she returns to speak about crisis communication after the crisis has seemingly ended and is joined by Jen Green.

It is easy to forget that people will be living with the impact of a crisis long after the cameras and news crews have gone. For some their lives will have changed forever and for organisations this is the most critical time. In many respects the initial stages of a crisis area easier to deal with it is what happens in the months and years after that is more important.

Jen Green

Almost a year on from the Manchester Arena attack where 22 people lost their lives the communication teams both at Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council are still working to manage the impact.

In the initial days and weeks everything was focused on dealing with the incident, supporting families and all those affected, and helping people across Manchester. After about a month people start to ask for other work to be done. You have current work, a backlog of work to be done and managing the impact of the crisis and all at a time when the team are exhausted mentally and physically.

The way through this complex situation is simple; focus on what matters and that is the people affected by the crisis and make sure you are working closely with other communication colleagues. Partnership working is often a buzz phrase but, in the months, following a crisis it is an essential way of delivering effective communication. In those dark moments when you feel the pressure of the situation keep those affected in your thoughts to spur you and the team on.

Amanda Coleman PRFest
Amanda Coleman

We spend a lot of time planning for a crisis, developing plans for the golden hour, exercising the plans alongside other agencies but what we often fail to think about is how we manage the long-term issues. How do we build the recovery? How can we continue to help those affected when the organisation moves on? What do you do when faced with the anniversary?

In Manchester there was a plan for a strategic approach to recovery communication but when faced with the events in May 2017 it needed to be rewritten.

If you are developing your crisis communication plan, make sure you put as much effort into the long term communication when the cameras have gone. It is that long term care that will define your organisation and build reputation.

Come and hear Amanda and Jen speak at #PRFest and learn how they rewrote the crisis communication strategy according to real-life events.

You can buy your tickets here.