Why Higher Education Crisis Communications is Necessary
November 22, 2022 | Category: Blog, Crisis PR, Government, Media Relations, News, Public Relations
As the popularity of social media continues to grow, higher education crisis communication planning has become more urgent than ever. All someone must do is hit “send” and bad news can spread at the speed of light via the internet. No matter if the “news” is false or misleading, long-lasting damage can occur that is difficult to correct.
Red Banyan’s seasoned higher education crisis communication experts have years of experience creating crisis response plans that will ensure your school is prepared with an action plan for emergencies. Having a checklist to follow when a crisis occurs is an excellent way to make sure you know how to contact relevant stakeholders and accomplish necessary tasks in a timely manner.
Red Banyan’s team of reputation rehabilitation professionals and media relations experts will monitor your educational institution’s social media channels for unfavorable content and address the situation should a problem occur. Red Banyan’s crisis PR staff also includes numerous former journalists who will provide media relations training to your faculty and teach your employees how to deal with reporters.
Knowing what to do when an emergency occurs is half the battle. Wasted time can result in bigger problems that can be more difficult to address. Or they can result in irreversible damage. Crisis response planning for higher education will eliminate the guesswork when the pressure is on.
Crisis Communication in Higher Education
Higher education institutions attract students based on the school’s good reputations. Recruitment and funding are linked to reputation, which is why it is essential for higher education institutions to aggressively protect their good names. Mistakes happen and crises are bound to occur, which is why higher education crisis communication is such an important area for schools to include in their planning.
Knowing how to manage crisis communications can mean the difference between surviving a reputational slam or falling victim to it. Good communication, transparency and speed of response are all factors that will help ensure a favorable outcome. Red Banyan’s team of crisis response professionals have the savvy and know-how to make sure your higher education institution comes out on the right side of any crisis.
With the use of social media on the rise, it is essential to keep tabs on what is being said about your brand online. Reputations can be tarnished with taps on a keyboard or mobile phone, while content that is posted to social media can be consumed with the click of a mouse or scroll of a finger. That is why higher education institutions cannot afford to ignore adverse situations. Every college or university needs a crisis communication plan to which they can refer when circumstances go south.
Higher Education Crisis Management Planning
Higher education crisis communications make sense for colleges and universities which can face a range of internal and external emergencies affecting everything from recruiting and funding to safety and campus security.
Having a crisis response plan in place before you need one makes a lot of sense. A crisis communications plan will provide an outline for what to do in an emergency. It should also designate a spokesperson and include information on how to contact that individual. The crisis plan needs to also include a media relations strategy, with media contacts and details about the relevant outlets.
The crises that can arise at major institutions of education are vast and varied. Issues could include:
- Sexual assault allegations on campus
- University data protection breaches
- Allegations of cultural insensitivity
- Student deaths
- Breakdowns in media relationships
- Health & safety failings
Higher education crisis communications is important because colleges and universities depend on their reputations to attract new students and to receive grants and other funding. Effective management of crisis PR is critical for higher education institutions to recruit top-notch talent, attract top-quality students, as well as investors and donors. Much can go wrong at large institutions, but the result do not have to be negative if crisis planning is put into place early.
Crisis Leadership in Higher Education
Creating a crisis communications plan takes time and careful thought. Red Banyan’s team of crisis PR professionals will help you set up a plan that outlines how to contact all relevant stakeholders. Different stakeholders have access to different kinds of information which could be important in a crisis. That is why having an internal crisis communications team in place before a crisis occurs is essential. Red Banyan’s team of media relations experts know that good communications are essential in an emergency and will help set up a framework to put them into place.
Here are 5 steps to create a higher education crisis communications plan:
- Build a trusted communications team – Identify and assemble a school crisis response team that can select a spokesperson, delegate roles and develop a positive plan based on individual responsibilities.
- Map out potential response in advance – Outlining potential responses to specific situations ahead of time allows your organization to be proactive and to develop the most effective solutions before problems arise. Finding solutions during a chaotic crisis is never a good idea.
- Assess the situation efficiently – Recognize the key elements of your message before releasing it to the public and make sure you have all your facts correct. Releasing incorrect information can add to your crisis. Share your news with the stakeholders it most affects and if you post anything to social media, then use social media monitoring software to keep abreast of what is being said about your school online.
- Utilize social media – Make sure your educational institution has a social media manager who can keep track of all your school’s social media channels. Stay engaged with the online conversations so you know what is being said about your organization so you can respond or act.
- Remain compassionate – Make sure to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of the members of your educational community, especially if your situation requires the release of sensitive information.
Higher Ed Crisis Management
Reacting to a crisis and getting your crisis under control takes planning, strategic thinking and speed. Red Banyan’s seasoned team of higher education crisis communications experts have decades of experience helping higher education institutions plan for the worst, so they are ready when an emergency strikes.
Knowing who to call, what to say and how to reach the affected parties are not actions you can take on blindly during a crisis. Planning ahead, outlining your options and practicing your plan will get you to the finish line. Red Banyan’s crisis response experts are there to help and know how important a targeted higher education crisis communications response can be to achieving success.
Frequently Asked Questions about Higher Education Crisis Communications:
- Why is a trained crisis communications team important in higher education?
Not everyone at colleges and universities knows how to respond during an emergency so it is important to have a trained communications team in place. Identify and build a PR team that proves they know how to respond by delegating roles and asking them to develop a solid plan based on expected responsibilities.
- What does crisis communications in higher education entail?
Crisis communication in higher education refers to the technologies, systems and protocols that enable schools to effectively communicate during major threats to their reputation or operations.
- What is the purpose of crisis communications in higher education?
Strategic communication in higher education is designed to connect different parties together for a cohesive whole. This includes donors, employees, students, leaders, department heads, professional staff, security personnel, local police and first responders and government officials.