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CRISIS RESPONSE: The ACID Test and The ROAD Test

ACID Test

Mounting a successful crisis response.

At Crisis Solutions, we utilise a benchmark called The Acid Test. We believe there are four vital capabilities needed to mount a successful crisis response.

These capabilities are: Activation, Communication, Information Management and Decision Making.

Here is an overview of The ACID Test.

  • Activation: Those who discover a crisis need to know who to inform and there needs to be a clear process for assembling the crisis team.
  • Communication: Consistent and timely messages need to be communicated to staff, the media, customers and suppliers, using appropriate media channels for each audience.
  • Information Management: A crisis response requires the ability to gather, filter, assess and share information so that decision makers have the best shot at taking the right course of action.
  • Decision Making: During a crisis, there must be an agreed method for making decisions. We recommend two concepts ‘Strategic Intent’ and ‘Main Effort’.

ROAD Test

We also have a communication benchmark called The ROAD Test. We believe there are four vital capabilities needed to mount a successful crisis comms response.

These capabilities are: React, Observe, Articulate and Delegate.

Here is an overview of The ROAD Test.

  • React: Get a representative to where the crisis has occurred and get there quick. If you are head of comms be present in the crisis room and stay close to your CEO.
  • Observe: Understand the facts and impacts the crisis is having on your organisation. Understand the emotions that drive the story and above all stay in touch with the public mood.
  • Articulate: Establish consistent key messages for all your audiences and communicate them in a timely manner. Make sure the sign-off process for all material is established in advance.
  • Delegate: Assign tasks (writing Q&As, key messages, media monitoring etc.) to specific owners. If you are head of comms use your deputy as a sounding board.