April 04, 2019
/ by Sarah Parker
No brand wants to deal with a crisis comms situation, and the stakes can feel even higher for those in higher education, where comms professionals are often the guardian of a brand representing age-old traditions of prestige and learning.
While every brand has their own unique concerns when it comes to crisis comms planning- and higher ed is obviously no exception- there are some tenets and best practices to build on before tailoring your strategy.
With that in mind, we'll share our best resources for every kind of crisis comms planning before tackling the specifics the higher ed community should keep in mind.
If you're part of a team in charge of crisis comms for your brand, you may or may not have inherited a crisis comms plan when you stepped into your role. It could be airtight, or it could be outdated. Your first step is making an assessment of where that plan stands.
Ask these three questions to start:
These three questions should establish the current state of your crisis comms strategy. Now you know which resources you need to tap into to finish building your plan out.
This list of resources should help you no matter which stage of crisis comms planning you find yourself in:
We can't guarantee you'll prevent any kind of crisis from ever happening, but you and your team will feel better prepared to handle anything that comes your way.
Higher ed doesn't face the same challenges as brands in many other industries do.
The general public may hold higher education brands to a higher level, as they are seen as renowned institutions of learning and "traditional" values (which obviously brings its own sets of problems, as that can mean very different things to different people).
Higher education brands have to keep several audiences in mind when designing content, thinking of their faculty, staff, students, parents of students, alumni, prospective students and parents of prospective students. There are also prospective faculty to keep in mind, as well as any popular sports teams tied to the university as well.
There is a need to balance legacy with planning for the future, and there often has to be a prioritizing of certain audiences over others when resources are limited.
All of this is something a comms professional working for a higher education institution has to keep in mind when designing a crisis comms strategy. Specifically consider:
Overall, if you do the work to match your crisis comms strategy with your other strategies, your institution should be prepared for whatever comes along to test it.
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