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Crisis Communication Plans

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

ICM-developed crisis communication plans include strategies for managing broad categories of potential issues to use as a starting point to develop what’s needed to address each unique situation.  Customized worksheets specific to the type of crisis guide management and help the crisis team refine the strategy and develop the most effective talking points and messaging.

We recommend that organizations have three plans that are fully integrated and designed to work together, including crisis communication plans.

  • the operational crisis response plan, which provides direction to those charged with actually managing what is happening;
  • the crisis communication plan, which details communication strategies, tools and tactics for responding to stakeholders and the media during the crisis; and
  • the business recovery/continuity plan, which details how the organization returns to normal business operations in the aftermath of the incident.

Our firm’s primary focus is development and integration of the crisis communication plan, which helps drive decisions across all three components of the crisis response.

A bunch of microphones
Man in stress in front of servers

When you hire ICM to develop a crisis communication plan, we:

  • Analyze industry trends that may indicate potential for a crisis;
  • Conduct an assessment to identify the most likely issues and crises that your organization may face;
  • Identify early warning signals that suggest the possibility of a crisis;
  • Create a comprehensive crisis communication plan, playbooks and train crisis team members;
  • Practice the plan through table-top exercises and simulations; and
  • Help identify and train the spokespersons who will address the media.

The crisis communication plan includes our recommended components, including:

  1. Overview and plan objectives
  2. Crisis assessment criteria and team activation / response protocols
  3. Crisis Team Chain of Command
    • Line and staff group responsibilities
    • Designated spokespersons and disclosure guidelines
    • Core team and expanded team roles
  4. Crisis Team contact information
  5. Media contact lists for every relevant market
  6. Information verification and approval policies and procedures
  7. Approved background information/ photos/ video
  8. Playbooks with messaging strategy, worksheets and response guidelines for most probable or inpactful issues
  9. Social media and mainstream media strategy and monitoring tactics
  10. Logistical checklists and worksheets

Once you approve the plan

We produce and deliver it and schedule a training session with your crisis team to teach you how to use it.  We deliver the final plan in multiple formats to assure that the crisis team has access to the plan wherever they are when called upon.


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.

10 Steps to Build a Rock Solid Crisis Communications Plan