Underplaying in-house communications can undermine even the best external strategy
How many public relations spokespersons does your company have?
The correct answer is, “as many employees as we have.” Sure, any organization can and should have a policy whereby only certain individuals are “officially” authorized to speak on the record. If a reporter calls and you have a designated spokesperson policy, the call will be probably be routed correctly—but that doesn’t prevent your secretary, an intern, or a junior executive from giving their version of the facts to family members, friends, PTA members, golfing buddies, and anyone else they know.
Internal audiences are as, if not more, important than external audiences during a crisis, and yet those who aren’t actually on the crisis response team often receive the least consideration when the stuff hits the fan. It is vital, during the crisis communications planning process, to formulate key messages not only for employees, but also for others who are close enough to the organization to be considered “internal”—e.g., regular consultants and major vendors.