Crisis Communication Planning with Brian Kaplan

Welcome to Episode 17 where my guest today is Brian Kaplan. Brian is a New York City-based marketing and communications consultant who operates a practice called BrainKap Communications. He’s a former MarCom director of independent schools and, prior to that, he ran a marketing and public relations firm called Impression PR.

In today’s episode, we are going to talk about all that is entailed in crisis communication planning. Brian’s going to share elements of a plan when you should create your plan, things you should do, and things you shouldn’t do. Brian is going to wrap up with what to do after the plan.

I learned a number of things from our conversation, and I’m sure you will as well, so I hope you enjoy our conversation!

In this episode, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The goal and objective of a crisis communications plan
  • The difference between a problem and a crisis
  • The importance of preparation and teamwork when it comes to a crisis communications plan
  • How a crisis communications plan will accomplish the intended outcome(s)
  • Why a crisis communications plan must be specific and detailed
  • How a school’s Board of Trustees should be involved in planning a crisis communication plan
  • The financial implications of a crisis communication plan
  • The difference between a crisis management plan and a crisis communications plan
  • How social media can support a crisis communications plan
  • The importance of monitoring and identifying the online communications that are taking place about your school
  • Why you should engage and dialog with followers in your social networks
  • Why you should consider hiring a consultant that specializes in crisis communications planning
  • The core team that should be involved in crisis communication planning for your school
  • The importance of having parents on your crisis communications team
  • What should be included in a “crisis communications playbook”
  • Crisis communication materials that should be prepared in advance
  • The best approach to take when planning for a crisis – and why
  • What to do once your crisis plan is completed to make it accessible and usable
  • What to include in a contingency plan
  • Why you shouldn’t use a boilerplate template
  • The most overlooked areas of preparation
  • Who the lead person should be on crisis communication planning
  • The importance of continually updating your plan
  • How often you should practice your crisis communication plan
  • Discussion about the importance of monitoring social media (see recommended monitoring tools below)
  • Why you should take the time to listen, be understanding and empathetic in dealing with people – especially children and young people – during a crisis
  • How to work with the community to help your school heal after a crisis

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

Reddit – The Keyword Monitor Pro

Hootsuite – Reputology

Crisis Response Pro

How to find today’s guest:

Brian Kaplan, Founder and Consultant-in-Chief

BrainKap Communications





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About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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