Taking the Crisis Out of Crisis Communications.

How video can support an emergency response plan.

By TJ Kennedy


You can’t predict a crisis, but you can plan for one. They just happen. They arrive unannounced. Maybe it’s a natural disaster, a security breach, or an active shooter situation.. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires—they are all predictive in nature, they happen every year, almost without fail. Sadly, security breaches and active shooters are occurring with more frequency. The reality is a plan can be produced in advance of the actual disaster and quickly delivered at a moment’s notice.

Both efficiency and effectiveness can be gained with a proactive approach to a crisis rather than a reactive stance. For example, pre-recorded instructions to the public regarding mass evacuations—what route to take, where shelters are located, what will a return and normalization look like?

The Role of Video in Crisis Management

It’s not that the need to react and pivot will disappear, a crisis communication response from a podium topped with dozens of microphones will still exist, but the information given in the moment will be augmented by important instructions stored in a video library at the ready to be released with immediacy when necessary. Having video on demand as well as a live stream video crisis communication plan can enhance your company’s emergency communication strategy and allow you to share approved messages quickly and efficiently. Below we list some of the scenarios in which video technology can assist:

Natural Disasters

No company can control a natural disasters or weather event. However, they can decrease a brand’s ability to serve its customers. They can limit operations. You can prepare with crisis scenario plans that included video on demand. You can explain how the plan will avert any slow-downs or disruptions in your business operations. You can assure your customers and shareholders that you have indeed prepared for this unfortunate circumstance.

Environmental Issues

What if something goes wrong? A subcontractor has broken a gas main or there’s been a hazardous chemical spill, for example. “Green” practices and sustainability have grown in importance. Transparency can be achieved by preparing in advance the company’s position and broadcasting a pre-recorded video statement with policy and procedure.

Cybersecurity

Employees, customers and shareholders need to know what to do during and after a cyberattack. After all, every company is at risk. Having a video at the ready will put everyone’s mind at ease.

Product Recalls

A company’s reputation is at stake the moment a product recall commences. The ramifications of the recall could potentially last years if there isn’t a well thought out proactive plan. Sales will no doubt decrease if your brand’s reputation is compromised, even if your other product lines are not the subject of the recall. Effective communication is key to rebuilding brand trust. Communications can be executed every step of the way with the use of on demand video.

Crisis Communication within a Hyper-Distributed Audience Model

Today, we must not only prepare to inform external stakeholders, but there’s also a need to reach a hyper distributed audience as well.

The Covid-19 Pandemic serves as a real-world case study for how critical information can be disseminated quickly and efficiently with the use of both Live Stream Video and Video on Demand. Let’s look at a national health goods retailer as one example. They’ve been tapped to be one of several retailers that will administer a massive nation-wide vaccination effort. They will not only need to publicize the vaccines availability to the public, perhaps more importantly, they need to make certain every employee throughout the national chain receives the information they need in a timely manner but also ensure the comprehension of the information provided. Any misunderstanding or a miscue in timing can cause a crisis to become a major disaster.

Live stream and on demand video can help crisis communication managers to reach the right people with the right content at the right time.

3 ways to add value with video and help manage crisis communications

Content Management

The ability and capacity to store and manage large file sized video might be considered “cost of entry” in a discussion of what makes video smart. Truth is, storing content is important, but the ability to access the content for later use might be considered mission critical—especially considering the advent of governance and compliance of content retention and removal by regulators becoming codified on both the state and federal levels. This is particularly important considering the need to prepare in advance for an eventual crisis. Having a library of videos at the ready can prove invaluable.

Content Distribution

Enable the distribution of live stream video content to a hyper-distributed audience on a very large scale—say 50-100,000 individuals or more, simultaneously. There are real opportunities to demonstrate how scalability can be beneficial—think communications to a large, distributed network of healthcare professionals, and patients or a distributed workforce or a state-wide communications effort for example. With video optimized for the mobile experience, your audience can engage with content wherever they are, whenever they need to and on whatever device they choose.

Content Analysis

We continue to operate in a data driven climate. If content performance cannot be measured, it has virtually no value. Having advanced analytics in order to measure video content performance will inform organizations how to improve communication and ultimately make smarter decisions. Tracking both the physical assets, like buffering and drop offs, but also gaining actionable insight into how effective video communication was with the intended audience. How many people watched the video? Who watched the entire video? Who watched it multiple times? Bringing real data to video content is the cornerstone of how the healthcare industry can use video to develop a course of action or course correct when necessary.

There’s still room for reaction to a crisis, still room for the podium, the cameras, and the reporters. But now you can have even more tools to avoid a potential for a crisis in crisis communications.


Qumu has been making video smarter with its video engagement platform serving the Fortune 500 and Tech 1000. Qumu has committed to a 100% remote workforce that works from wherever, whenever, forever. Qumu recently refreshed its brand to better reflect its commitment to bringing value to video content.

TJ Kennedy is the CEO at Qumu Corporation