Crisis Communication Team: Definition, Roles, and Management

11 mins read
Crisis Communication Team: Definition, Roles, and Management

In our stormy times, being prepared for crises is vital for the company’s business life. This is never a matter of “if,” but “when.” It could be a negative review, a defective product, force-majeure circumstances, and so on. These situations, if not managed in the right way, might have a damaging impact on the company’s reputation as well as its competitiveness. Even the company’s profit might be affected because of some communication issues.

That’s why it’s essential to build a crisis communications team ready to move on to action with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Crisis communications teams must be ready to start acting to preserve a brand’s resources and reputation. A strong crisis management team is the key to coping with an image disaster of the company. We’ve prepared for you the most useful information about the structure, purposes, and functions of the crisis communication team.

What is a crisis communication team?

A crisis management team, also called a CMT, prepares a brand to respond to potential emergencies. It also carries out and coordinates the response in the event of an actual communication issue. 

Crisis Management Team must react immediately to warning signals of crisis and imply appropriate and effective plans to get over the existing communication issues. The crisis communication team is responsible for gathering information, creating and spreading key messages, and working with the media. 

They create a detailed crisis response plan and can communicate it with the rest of the company so that all the departments knew how to respond to different types of crises, and that the reaction is appropriate for the crisis levels. The team also monitors consequences after response to the crisis and crisis communication.

Composition of Crisis Communication Team

A crisis communication team is essential to identify what activities they can imply and which they should encompass individuals who are key to the situation. 

A crisis communication team may include:

  • Chief Executive Officer

The Chief leader should be able to work through all the company’s departments and speak to people at all levels of the company. The leader keeps the process moving forward and manages team members toward the right response. The leader should have full access and authority to arrange team meetings that boost cross-organizational collaboration.

  • Head of public relations function

This role of the crisis communication team serves as the official representative of the company during a crisis. This person and his/her team are responsible for communicating with the media, the audience, and various stakeholders.

  • Functional managers

The functional managers manage physical damage assessment and identify the impact on the company’s infrastructure. This member estimates and gives proper consideration to issues related to the safety of the company’s buildings and workers and makes recommendations for moving or evacuating employees to other installations.

  • Finance and Administration

This person has to cope with the financial stability of the company during a crisis. This member has a helicopter view of the financial effect of the crisis on the organization, particularly when company profit may break up by some crisis.

  • Risk/Compliance 

This team member has a crucial role in assuring regulatory agencies that the company’s emergency responses are compliant. This member also has responsibilities for ensuring continued physical security throughout the crisis.

  • Information Technology

This team member coordinates the IT emergency response actions to re-establish and protect the company’s IT resources. This member evaluates how the crisis affects the company’s access to its computers, applications, and data needed to do its business.

Since most companies rely considerably on IT, this team member is a crucial asset to every area of the business. The IT member must have a prepared crisis recovery plan and be ready to start working.

  • Project Management

The project managers consult the team on the impact of the crisis on ongoing projects. The assessment would include the impact on future company plans and goals too.

  • Corporate Communications and Marketing

This team member estimates and warns the team on the impact of a crisis and responses under consideration from the perspective of marketing and communications. This team member implies communication with the media throughout the crisis, company shareholders, and (in collaboration with the HR team members) the staff.

  • Legal counsel

The Legal counsel is responsible for legal matters relating to liability, communications with authorities, and legal compliance. 

Additionally, a senior manager from the division usually is in charge of the area that was involved in the situation that brought about the crisis.

All crisis communication team members must be aware of all processes in crisis management. Team members carry out the recovery plan by their determined functions. 

When is the Time for a Crisis Communication Team to Appear? 

When creating a crisis communication team, it is essential to start early, not when the company is actively involved in a crisis.

The crisis management team exists to help a business minimize or possibly avoid a disaster and, if it arises, recover as quickly as possible with minimal negative consequences. There are no businesses with crisis immunity, so every company needs to understand the basics of crisis management. 

The crisis management team’s functions differ by phase. In the planning stage, the CMT does the next steps:

  • Analyze potential risks and the company’s weaknesses.
  • Discuss with stakeholders at all levels, both inside and outside the company, about their needs and concerns.
  • Determine resources available and needed to react to a crisis.
  • Create a detailed crisis management plan.
  • Find out how to receive any missing resources.
  • Conduct training with all employees on what to do in a crisis.

In the crisis phase, the team must do the following:

  • Monitor and identify a crisis in the early stage.
  • Estimate the impact of the crisis.
  • Call the crisis communication team and activate the action plan.
  • Start to carry out emergency measures and contingency plans.
  • Pass important information to all stakeholders.
  • Organize support services
  • Align with senior management.

In the outcome of a crisis, the team does the following:

  • Analyze what did and didn’t work well.
  • Review the crisis management plan, based on this new experience.
  • Renew resources and get any new needed resources.
  • Discuss changes with stakeholders.
  • Update the plan based on the changes in the company.

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Who Should Be On Your Crisis Response Team

There are two ways of thought: Should the company have an in-house crisis communication team (or some employees) or should this function execute the outsourcing agency? The choice depends on how large and complex is the company in terms of size and processes.

Crisis management teams need a leader and members with communications, finance, administrative, and operations or business unit experience. Make sure you involved members from human resources, IT department, legal, risk/security, project managers, and marketing department. Consider assigning one member to work with executives.

In a large crisis management team, an individual may be responsible for each individual area of responsibility, but members of smaller businesses and teams may fulfill more than one role. Usually, individuals represent the area of the company in which they normally work, so they carry their operational experience to the crisis management team. 

During normal work duties, many departments often have teams that deal with problems. But if you didn’t prepare in advance, or didn’t plan to have your own crisis team, PRNEWS.IO will be your temporary perfect team member who will create and deliver to the audience exactly the message that will be needed to overcome the crisis. Using PRNEWS.IO is an excellent approach to safeguarding and restoring your company’s brand reputation and image. 

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Wrapping Up

Coping with a crisis is never easy. But being prepared, including creating and preparing your crisis response team in advance, will help to ease long-term harm to the company. An effective and efficient crisis communication team will always lead to better results.

In case you already need it, feel free to contact us, and our skilled and experienced team will help you create and distribute the right messages to handle your crisis communications.

Thank you for reading our post. For more information on crisis communications and planning read

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