When I started writing this Risk & Reputation Insights blog a few years ago, I promised that I had no intention of rehashing age-old topics like why every company needs a crisis plan, which according to my exhaustive research, i.e., Googling it, has already been written 594 million times before.
Truth be told, I’ve always viewed the whole idea of planning for crises with a healthy dose of skepticism. I first became involved in crisis management sometime between the first and second Tylenol crises, and have it on pretty good authority that the good people at Johnson & Johnson pulled off the biggest crisis success story in history without so much as a couple of talking points scribbled on the back of an envelope. I’m not suggesting that then Chairman James Burke and VP of PR Larry Foster were flying totally by the seats of their gray flannels, mind you. In fact, I can’t conceive of a more powerful set of touchstones for crisis decision-making than the four-paragraph expression of corporate values J&J calls its “credo.”
My point is, if J&J could save countless lives and achieve enduring reputational adulation without a comprehensive, world-class, best-practices-based, doctor-tested, mother-approved crisis plan spanning multiple red ring binders, anyone can.
Here, then, are my top 10 reasons why not having a crisis plan is worth serious consideration:
10. It’s said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, and who doesn’t want the almighty to think they’re a real bad-ass?
9. It’s high time to retire the Tylenol case and give PR students a new crisis they can milk to death for 40 years.
8. If the last four years proved anything at all, it’s that there really is no such thing as bad publicity.
7. You have your entire 401k portfolio riding on the makers of Pepto-Bismol, Xanax and Bayer aspirin.
6. Hunkering down in a conference room for 36 straight hours while subsisting on cold pizza and warm Pepsi builds character.
5. Ditto spending time with lawyers who bill more an hour than you made your first year out of college to tell you not to talk to the press.
4. Vacation? We don’t need no stinkin’ vacations.
3. No one gives big trophies for little crises.
2. You have a PR firm on retainer, and it would be a shame not to make them work for it.
1. Because it’s April Fool’s Day!
Jokes aside, having a solid, well-tested crisis plan is more important than ever today. But despite what a few hundred million Google entries would have us believe, being ready with a plan is still only the second-best way to manage a crisis. To us, the best way to manage a crisis is not to have one in the first place.
Ready to learn more? Sign up for an advance copy of our upcoming e-book, Building Crisis Immunity: 5 Strategies to Protect your Reputation and Create a Stronger, More Crisis-Resistant Enterprise.