Disaster Messaging Basics

We at Global Data Vault are sticklers for disaster planning. And we think you should be too. So we’re sharing this fascinating and valuable white paper by Everbridge, “Message Mapping and the Six Stages of Crisis” that we think is essential for every CEO  to read before putting together his/her company’s disaster recovery plan.

Think back to any emergency you’ve ever encountered. You’ll note there’s a beginning, middle and end, and how you reacted or took action in each of those scenarios is distinctly different.  Planning ahead and anticipating those various scenarios is integral to keeping your business afloat during times of extreme crisis.Neurons_12787821_s

The folks at Everbridge have made Message Mapping and Crisis analysis a near science. They break down crisis even further into six stages. According to Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D., internationally renowned crisis communication expert, they are:

1) warning
2) risk assessment,
3) response,
4) management,
5) resolution, and
6) recovery.

The key, obviously, is to anticipate what crisis you may encounter and develop your message map prior to the unfortunate event ever happening.

Why Create  “Planned message maps”?

Disaster Messaging Maps:

  • Eliminate the potential for dissemination of incorrect information
  • Reduce rumors
  • Meet elevated information demands
  • Ensure the right message reaches the public
  • Reassure those affected of an organization’s ability to handle a disaster

Creating a message mapping strategy takes time, energy, and resources — and because there isn’t an immediate need, often get slated lower and lower on the priority list. Despite the many resources required to put a disaster plan in place, they can save lives, company assets, and organizational reputations. In the long run, it is economically more effective to take the time and resources to ensure excellent preparation.

According to Everbridge, to create a message mapping strategy:

1.Determine your core constituent audiences.

Who is involved in or affected by your organization? List all possible audiences, e.g. employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, government regulators, investors.

2.Walk through every possible disaster scenario.

List all the likely scenarios that may affect your organization, such as power outages and weather-related closures. Then brainstorm the what-if scenarios: active shooters, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics, salmonella scares, and more. What do you need to communicate to employees, students, nurses, or others? How do their information needs change during the various stages of a crisis?

3.Consider legal, financial, and other ramifications.

In determining types of messages, consider: Legal implications Public relations implications Financial implications Business operations

4.Determine channels of communication.

How will these messages be communicated? Email, phone, text message, fax, other? How will your organization know the message was sent? Is there a confirmation process? Is there an automated system in place or will your organization need to set up a phone bank to contact others?

5.Hone and refine message maps.

Traditional message maps reduce important, emergency-relevant concepts to no more than three short sentences that convey three key messages in 30 words or less at a sixth-grade reading level. Test messages for comprehension and revise as necessary.

If you’d like to learn the step-by-step plan on how to create a Message Map, please download this essential whitepaper at http://www.everbridge.com/white-papers.


White Paper | How to Communicate During the Six Stages of a Crisis © 2009 Everbridge

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