As public relations professionals it is important to understand the function of proactive planning. Proactive planning allows for an organization to be prepared "just in case" an incident occurs. It is fire prevention as opposed to putting out fires. It gives an organization time to formulate calculated responses to a variety of probably scenarios. An organization must have a proactive crisis management plan as soon as it has an initial business plan. It should be embedded in the first stage of business planning. During an event of crisis; time is always of the essence and having a proactive plan means that a company does not need to waste valuable time preparing a plan.
It is important to have data to pinpoint specific problems as well as evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of a proactive plan. Some mechanism to acquire the data or feedback would be to hire a research team to find out firsthand relevant facts about a crisis.
Also having systems for polls and surveys are a good way to get an idea and understanding of the company's image in the eyes of its publics internally and externally. Having a crisis communication plan is also an effective tool because it streamlines the communication process and allows for the company's message to reach the key media.
An ineffectual way to carry out a proactive plan is simply not to be proactive or to be responsive. Communication is also the key to carrying out an effectual proactive plan. Stakeholders and employees must understand the voice of the company in a crisis situation; improper communication could result in lowering morale and stakeholder abandonment. The media also needs to understand a company's position in a crisis. By communicating early and truthfully; a company can avoid having the media draw its own conclusions without...