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Crisis Planning and Prevention

Putting crisis planning and prevention measures in place is critical. Like a fingerprint, every crisis is unique. There may be similarities to past incidents, but a crisis never occurs the same way twice.

While it’s important to have general strategies and message tactics ready to respond to the most likely events, there is no one-size-fits-all set of talking points or press releases to respond to a crisis. Companies that take the crisis planning approach of “we’ll handle it just like last time” are destined to fail.

Crisis Planning and Prevention

The first step in preventing a crisis and preparing an effective crisis communication plan is to determine what “could” go wrong and what is most realistic for which to prepare. Research is a critical first step to crafting the strategies needed to protect brand, reputation and the bottom line.

Highway Crash Scene

Our research typically includes several elements.

First, we review news coverage to catalog the crises that have befallen other organizations like yours in the past several years. We analyze these crises to understand their causes and assess the effectiveness of the company’s response.

Next, we talk with key executives and managers to determine what they worry about and what their experience tells them the business should be prepared for. In other words, what “keeps them awake at night.”

Third, we review any existing emergency response policies, plans and processes along with the business continuity plan (if applicable).

Once the research is complete, we report our findings and make recommendations for the content of your organization’s custom crisis communication plan.


Deborah Hileman, SCMP
ICM President and CEO

CEO Expertise for Every Client

Deborah Hileman, SCMP, President and CEO. A globally certified strategic communication management professional (SCMP), business leader, coach and consultant with more than 35 years’ experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations, Ms. Hileman has led high-performing communications and marketing teams in health care, manufacturing, insurance and financial services, nonprofits and higher education. Her most significant areas of expertise include strategic communications planning and reputation/crisis management, change management, employee engagement and communication training.