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Crises are notoriously difficult to predict. Your business may be doing great one day, and then you may wake up the next day to the blogosphere buzzing with compromising information about you, your law firm or another member if your firm. A spate of negative reviews, a mocking YouTube video or a “hate” page implemented with SEO techniques can start a fire overnight.
It is not enough to be aware of reputation management concepts. You need to develop a concrete plan of action for when a crisis hits. A formal crisis plan can be a blueprint document when tensions are running high and emotions threaten to derail your better business sense. Read on to learn the elements your plan needs to include, and refer back to our previous post for some questions it needs to answer.
If possible, your crisis plan should include tasks for people with different skill sets to perform. One person from your firm could be responsible for closely working with your web/tech team to defuse online reputation issues, and another may need to research ways to proactively protect your reputation. Even a lawyer in a small business law firm can delegate different tasks in a crisis plan to members of their support staff to ensure no one is overwhelmed.
When developing your plan, begin with a brainstorming session to consider all the potential reputation issues that may arise. This will inform your planning. You should make your crisis plan as comprehensive as possible to encompass all possible eventualities, yet it should be organized as a step-by-step set of action items to take in the event of a crisis.
While your crisis plan may not predict every eventuality, planning is always better than not planning. A good reputation crisis plan can save you a lot of stress and trouble in the future. The same can be said for keeping track of who is saying what, which will be covered in the next Reputation Management series post.