At BMCG, we are strong advocates for Issues Briefs—a tool detailing a baseline of agreed communications as well as the most important and up-to-date information on a particular topic. We believe that they are a critical part of an effective crisis communications strategy in that they help to expedite information sharing and response in quickly developing situations while providing consistency over time and across stakeholder groups.

Issues Brief includes the following topics:

  • Issues Overview—a description of the issue and the institution’s past experience with it
  • The Latest—a quick summary of the latest developments on the topic
  • Holding Statement—(reactive use only)
  • Key Talking Points—pre-approved, overarching messaging
  • Hard Q&A—specific answers to tough questions the institution should be prepared to answer
    Note: In the first draft, some of these questions may not have answers, which will help to drive strategic decision-making or policy development around the issue
  • Resources—links to related policies/internal documents that provide more detail and/or substantiate points
  • Peer Review—news and information about similar institutions on the topic

We recommend that Issues Briefs be proactively developed around important and/or sensitive topics such as racism, Title IX, protests, police activity, academic freedom/freedom of speech, DACA/Immigration, financial health/budget, etc.