The Importance of a Crisis Management Plan Within The Events Industry

Many businesses within the events industry try to avoid having to plan for a crisis, but in reality, a crisis can happen at any time. So we must prepare for the worst.
What does it hold?

A CMP holds crucial information. It is a strategic plan that defines the following; what needs to be done in a crisis, a list of the crisis management team, and the procedures taken to respond accordingly. A CMP must include a communication plan so that the company know how to respond to a crisis quickly and accurately. The response strategy is the most important part of a plan. Depending on the severity of the crisis if it’s not dealt with correctly then it will leave you with a long-lasting reputation or loss of revenue.

Crisis management is a critical organisation function. Failure to do so will result in serious harm to stakeholders, losses in the organisation or end its very existence. W. Timothy Coombs (2007)

A SWOT analysis can create clarity

I would suggest you conduct a SWOT analysis, this will identify the internal strengths and weaknesses and its external opportunities and threats of your event. We never know what will happen? when will it happen? where will it happen? why did it happen? and who is involved? therefore having a SWOT analysis may distinguish something important.

Have you heard of the known, unknowns model by Donald Rumsfeld?

I learnt this at University. You may find it confusing at first, I did, but it’s very interesting, it certainly gets you thinking when it comes to crisis planning.

Known, knowns – This phrase means we know it is going to happen and we are prepared for it. For example the weather, we know it will happen because we keep track of the weather forecast.
knowns, Unknowns – This phrase means that we are aware of something and we know it can happen but have no idea when it will a happen. For example a terrorist attack, or a competitor popping up to destroy your event.
Unknown, unknowns – This phrase means the unidentified risks. There are things out there that we cannot even begin to imagine. For example, an unexpected death from a tragic accident (like 9/11)

However, Rumsfeld didn’t quite discover the 4th Unknown, knowns – This phrase means that some of us may be aware of something that others are not, or things we don’t believe we know or remember that we know. This is a tricky one.

I hope you have a better understanding of this. It makes you even more aware of the unexpected. Make a list yourself before you plan an event and see how many you can think of.
Types of crisis

There are many types of crisis that can happen some, in many cases can be minor others can be severe which can lead to disasters.

Natural disasters – Weather, storms and earthquakes etc ( Unexpected weather can affect your event )
Political crisis/ disasters – Riots and protests ( your event could be boycotted or even damaged by riots )
Malevolence – Unlawful activity to cause damage or loss.
Human errors – Miscommunication, skill-based errors and mistakes.
Management decisions/indecisive – Not taking action when informed about a problem that eventually grows into a crisis.

So why is there a need for Crisis Planning?
A crisis plan can help you deal effectively with those unexpected disasters.

Every crisis plan is different it depends upon the size and scope of the event. If the event is a Mega event then it’s more than likely to have worldwide media coverage which will represent the brand, for example, the Olympics or Formula One. It is vital to have a crisis plan especially when the media is involved. One of the main reasons why we plan for a crisis is to ensure we are prepared, we react quickly to minimise possible effects, respond effectively and recover promptly. A crisis can have a huge impact on a business, it can damage its reputation, therefore, failure to plan can be disastrous, you may never recover from it.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my article.

If you need help or advice with a Crisis Management Plan then contact me today.

Rebecca Coleing

BA Event Manager



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