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Direct Sellers: What is Your Company’s Crisis Plan?

In today’s hyper-connected world, crisis planning is a key corporate investment. Yet, most companies wait until issues arise to create or update plans. It’s been over a decade since the 9/11 attacks – an important technological decade giving rise to instant online news, social media, Twitter, and Smartphones.

The crisis plans that were conceived in 2001 are outdated and will prove ineffective. For direct sellers, the task can be ominous due to the volume of distributors and geographic considerations. 

In the wake of the Boston attacks, and now ricin mailings, there are several questions for companies to consider for future planning, including:

  • ·         How will your supply chain be impacted by additional security?
  • ·         Will the company’s fulfillment and shipping processes be impacted? 
  • ·         What is the corporate crisis communication chain (notification, decision making process, communication stream and tactics)?
  • ·         Who will be responsible for monitoring and responding, as needed, to online and social media platforms? What is the issue escalation process? 
  • ·         What information and statements do your customer service representatives need to serve your distributors and customers?

Direct selling has come of age and will be evaluated on crisis response just as other consumer product companies are judged. This new wave of heightened alerts allows the direct selling companies to live their values as well as shore up operations and communications.

Bobbie Wasserman is managing director of Wave2 Alliances, a corporate reputation firm that builds and restructures corporate communications departments. She is the former Vice President of Public Relations for ViSalus.  Bobbie speaks and writes about public relations, online and social media integration for multi-channel companies, and is a featured contributor to PR News’ Crisis Management Best Practices Guidebook.

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