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Speaking to comms experts we’ve detected concern that crisis communications planning is being overlooked by senior management

This week we report on Tesco’s cancellation of secondary promotions to focus on no-deal Brexit contingency planning. In another report, olive supplier the Real Olive Co has stocked up on six months’s worth of supply. And mussel farmer James Wilson, who exports his entire haul to the EU, has saved up enough money to stop work for up to eight months until there is more certainty.

All these stories speak to the work being undertaken behind the scenes to ensure the food and drink industry steps up to the plate, whatever the outcome of Brexit, and follows on from countless other stories we’ve written in recent months.

But we’ve never before considered the communications side of the Brexit fallout. In fact there’s been barely any coverage of Brexit from a crisis comms perspective, even in PR journals. We suspect we are not alone. And it’s an oversight that needs correcting at every level.

There are three key questions that need answering: are PRs in the loop on your business and supply chain continuity programmes? Has a crisis communications plan been developed that considers the multitude of scenarios? And if not, why not?

Speaking to comms experts we’ve detected concern and frustration that crisis communications planning is being overlooked by senior management. If that’s true, it’s a big mistake. Yes, comms teams can always be drafted in to manage the fallout from a crisis, pushing out public statements, replying to irate customers or ensuring a company CEO is fully briefed for interviews. And they frequently do a good job.

But Brexit is too complicated and too politically charged to respond on the hoof. So if you’re on the business and supply chain continuity side you should talk to your comms teams and let them know the plan. And if you’re on the comms side - be it agency or client, be it media relations, crisis management, internal communications, or IR - you should find out, discuss messaging around the various scenarios and develop crisis plans accordingly. Oh, and please complete our survey. Thanks.

Work in PR? We want to know how you feel about the role of communications in the Brexit planning process. Please click here to complete our survey