Let me paint you a picture:
It’s early morning and your social media monitors catch wind that Twitter is beginning to populate with tweets against your organization. Scrambling to understand what’s going on, they sift through links to news sites and high-ranking blogs that are being shared like wild fire and beginning to populate the search engines for your targeted keywords.
While your team gets to the route of the problem, the clock continues to tick and the news of the crisis continues to spread. Meanwhile, your stakeholders are waiting to hear something from your organization; people are expressing their upset and lack of understanding on your channels, and reporters and journalists are calling in for answers and quotes.
Your crisis team is under pressure to work together efficiently to:
- Get to the route of the crisis (determine what happened, why, how, when and where);
- Communicate appropriately and in real-time with your key stakeholders; and
- Put the crisis to bed as quickly as possible, while suffering the least amount of negative repercussions to the organization’s reputation and bottom line.
Sound like a nightmare?
The reality is that a crisis is a nightmare. The good news is that what I’m describing is just a crisis simulation – a fake crisis (although it doesn’t feel fake in the moment) taking place on a safe and secure platform – designed to test both your crisis plan and team.
Crisis simulations are the best way to test your plan and team
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
When done right, a crisis simulation is the best way to test and improve. The right crisis simulation will:
- Simulate any type of crisis imaginable and test any part of your team / departments that you want to test.
- Simulate everything from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and any other social media channel needed for your team’s exercise), to the search engines, as well as major news sites and blogs.
- Provide you with the ability to respond in real-time on any necessary platform.
- Allow you to communicate and respond to the crisis in accordance with your crisis plan (i.e.: by creating press releases, posting to your corporate website, blog or dark site, etc.).
- Timestamp all responses and communications for you to review and assess later.
- Unfold on a safe and secure platform that is protected against hacks, search engine indexing and other “accidents” that can put your organization at risk.
Come a crisis, you’ll be thankful for the experience
A crisis is not something you ever hope to experience, though if one were to strike, you would want your team to have as much experience as possible in order to manage it quickly and effectively. A crisis simulation gives your team that experience, strengthens their skills and quickly identifies areas within your crisis plan that leave you more vulnerable than prepared.
Imagine putting your team through a simulated crisis that feels so real you forget it’s a simulation. Interested? Learn more about my firm’s crisis simulation tool and how it can be used to successfully test your crisis team and plan.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.