If disaster strikes your business, how you respond, and how the public perceives this response, can have a significant and lasting impact. A poorly handled reaction will damage your reputation, lead to lost customers and sales, and even trigger litigation – while an effective response can help mitigate those threats. Planning makes all the difference.

Two trends make catastrophe planning more crucial and complex than ever: the growth of foreign investment and the explosion of social media. More U.S. companies now have operations abroad or are considering investing overseas.  When a catastrophe occurs, the global reach of the Internet and social media means that news and images can spread around the world in seconds. An ineffective response will bring a drumbeat of negative media stories until the issue finally fades from public view. By that time, the damage might be irreparable.

On the other hand, a response that engages the public and highlights your efforts to resolve the situation can turn a negative story into a positive one. For example, when a group of miners was trapped in a Chilean mine, video footage from inside the mine showed that the men were safe and helped to focus attention on the highly innovative, and ultimately successful, plan to rescue them.

Although you can’t predict when or where a catastrophe will strike, you can prepare ahead of time. Then, when disaster strikes, you’ll be ready to deploy a robust catastrophe and reputation management plan for handling the incident and dealing with media coverage. Effective pre-planning should include these steps:

1.      monitor trends while thinking outside  the box;

2.      implement internal and external response procedures, and;

3.      practice these responses.

For more information, please get in touch with us.

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