“WHAT” Starts with Key Messages

In times of crisis, it’s all about what you say. The audience is important. We’ve established that. But you need to deliver the right information in the right way. Keep it simple. Keep it high level, and always stay consistent. To effectively do this, you must develop your key messages. They’re the foundation of all communications, both internal and external. And there is no time that key messages are more important than during a hurricane.

There are emergencies and crises, and then there are hurricanes – and nothing is more unique than a hurricane. They’re unpredictable, and yet we know they are coming well in advance. Unlike other natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes) they give us time to prepare and communicate. Yet, many businesses fail to properly prepare and communicate with their key audiences. Unfortunately, many people, particularly in Florida, have become desensitized to hurricanes. We know what to do but we often don’t prepare or communicate until it’s too late.

So, how do you communicate during a hurricane? What should your messages include? It all comes down to the following:

- Advanced notice and setting expectations
- Consistency/Continuity
- Follow up
- Flexibility

At first glance, these concepts may appear at odds. How can you be consistent, but still able to quickly adapt? This is where your key messages come into play. Simple, consistent, reliable. They enable you to communicate new details while tying everything together. The right key messages provide a solid foundation while still allowing you to adapt to an ever-changing crisis like a hurricane.

Let’s look at the sample hurricane key messages we created for our hurricane communications plan.

• Safety is LandSouth’s #1 priority – the safety of our employees, our partners, our neighbors, and our communities.
• LandSouth takes every precaution in preparation for a hurricane, ensuring that our sites are protected to best prevent damage and injuries.
• LandSouth follows all recommended and required hurricane preparation steps to best protect the site, people, and our neighbors.
• LandSouth and our partners are responsible for ensuring that they share key communications with the right audiences in a timely manner.

We created these key messages to be high-level. Every storm, like every crisis and every project, is different. We are never going to communicate anything during a hurricane that contradicts or disputes these messages. As we learn more information and details, we include those in our communications, and we personalize them to fit the audience. The key messages help set expectations and rationale for the steps we take before and after a storm.

Every new communication starts with these messages – leading to stability and a little security in a very uncertain time.

For more information visit www.landsouth.com or call 904.273.6004

ABOUT LANDSOUTH CONSTRUCTION…Building Ideas

LandSouth Construction, the Southeast’s premier general contractor, specializing in multifamily, senior living, and mixed–use development, was named one of the nation’s Top 25 apartment builders by the National Multifamily Housing Council. Since 1998 LandSouth has transformed ideas into best–in–class communities through superior construction management and building long–term relationships. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. LandSouth has completed more than 18,000 units including apartments, hotels, senior living, student and military housing, condominiums, townhomes, and mixed–use. For more information, please contact Erica Zumstein at 904.273.6004 ext. 109 | ezumstein@landsouth.com or visit www.landsouth.com