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Crisis Communications Plan

Introduction

University B has many branches, directions, and programs that graduate more than 1,000 students each year. Moreover, this university has been included in the top 10 most prestigious educational institutions list for more than a decade. Students of engineering, physics, and mathematics are interning and working in major companies across the country. Graduates of the Faculty of Journalism are members of many news agencies, and students of the Department of Arts build successful careers. Indeed, such a large organization has its unique status as a reliable institution in the public’s eyes. For this reason, any crisis can jeopardize the effective and successful functioning of the university.

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Purpose and Objectives

The goals and objectives are to restore the university’s reputation, which has suffered due to the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has put all students and staff in a challenging situation. The university had to close most of the exchange and internship programs which caused a certain level of dissatisfaction among students. Thus, the students in the last years of the bachelor’s degree, for whom the practice was critical, were particularly affected by this crisis. One of the objectives is also to make critical stakeholders, including students and applicants, involved in the process (McElroy, 2019). Teachers and other organization employees had to learn how to use the online learning format, mastering new technologies and platforms. For this reason, the school received many complaints from employees who found this format inconvenient. Every year, the university accepted more than a thousand students, so any reduction in applicants adversely affects the organization’s public image.

List of Key Publics

This plan is intended for the general public interested in the organization’s prosperity and development. Students, prospective applicants, graduates, faculty, and university staff affected by this crisis are the key audience. Having received many complaints, complaints, and suggestions, the university is ready to give its answer to the public. Such a crisis as the COVID-19 epidemic and complaints from the public led the sponsors to question the university’s authority. In this sense, the plan is intended to notify the donors of the university, who have made their investments in its development over the years.

Identifying Crisis Communications Team and Notifying Publics

To manage this crisis, a small group of managers will be identified. This group includes the university’s rector and the press center and the head of the PR team. Such a team will be able to give an authoritative answer to all those affected by COVID-19 and prove the university’s reliability. Due to many years of experience, the rector of the university will allow the team of PR specialists to take a more comprehensive look at the current crisis. Moreover, it is possible to attract an independent expert, or a spin doctor, who is a professional in crisis management.

Media Spokesperson

The most suitable candidate for the role of media spokesperson is the rector of the university. This official has all the necessary characteristics that will allow him to cope with the task most successfully. As the head of the university, the authority of the rector will show him a reliable side. The rector of the university is known by every student, applicant, and professor, making him the most authoritative and trustworthy representative of the organization. Moreover, he has been in office for more than a decade, so speaking in public will be relatively easier for him than any other candidate.

Crisis Directory and List of Key Media

The Crisis Directory is a unique resource that is needed to help all those affected by the pandemic. Here, every student, professor, and applicant will find the necessary materials for navigating online learning. Moreover, the university will place many free textbooks in it, which will help students in their studies. This resource will publish updated information related to the crisis. Thanks to this, all those involved in studying at the university will have the opportunity to receive the latest relevant news and announcements. The key media are newspapers and magazines on the subject of education, significantly higher education. These resources are most attractive to the parties involved due to their specialty.

Pregathered Information

The university’s press release will include all available information on the spread of COVID-19 and two crisis management strategies. Firstly, the university will identify sustainable leadership that will provide a clear and realistic plan (Wu et al., 2020). This leadership will also engage in honest and open communication with key stakeholders. The second strategy is to create human resources support within the organization (Wu et al., 2020). Leaders should provide moral and psychological assistance to all personnel affected to some extent by the pandemic and its consequences. Thus, these strategies will allow the university to manage the crisis more successfully.

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Social Media Management and Trick Questions

Before the crisis, the university managed its social networks usually. News and announcements published on different universities’ social media platforms are mainly related to the life of the student community. For example, various publications were made on Instagram about the away games of the university football team. During the crisis, the focus shifted to the coronavirus epidemic itself. Thus, publications intended for all those interested in this topic began to appear, which indicated the latest data on patients. After the crisis, the university’s social networks began to make posts describing the plans of the educational institution. The University’s Twitter account published several tweets explaining the new order of admission to the courses. Questions that may arise will include the most relevant topics. Firstly, what should students do if they never managed to get an internship? In response, the university offers all students interested in taking it online since many companies and organizations agree to this format. Secondly, how will the entrance tests to the university take place? The university states that all exams are currently held online, which significantly simplifies this process.

List of Prodromes, Communication Strategies, and Evaluation form

The list of prodromes includes events that precede the onset of the crisis. Such events in the case of the spread of COVID-19 can serve as the first outbreaks of the disease. Such events should indicate to the university that there may be problems with the educational process’s usual functioning. Communication strategies include defining objectives and engaging the public (Dolan et al., 2017). Through these strategies, the university will ensure effective communication between the head of the organization and the public. The form of evaluation of this crisis communications plan should include such parameters that will most qualitatively prove its effectiveness. These aspects include: defining goals and objectives, creating a communication team, selecting the right media spokesperson, and managing the social media crisis. Thanks to these characteristics, it becomes possible to evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of the crisis communications plan.

References

Dolan, Rebecca, Conduit, Jodie, Fahy, John, & Goodman, Steve. 2017. “Social Media: Communication Strategies, Engagement, and Future Research Directions.” International Journal of Wine Business Research. Web.

McElroy, Laura. 2019. “Developing a Crisis Communication Plan: 5 Important Strategies.” Body-Worn Camera. Training & Technical Assistance.

Wu, Albert W., Connors, Cheryl, & Everly Jr, George. S. 2020. “COVID-19: Peer Support and Crisis Communication Strategies to Promote Institutional Resilience.”

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Crisis Communications Plan." September 28, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/crisis-communications-plan/.

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