5 Tips for Communicating Through a Crisis

5 Tips for Communicating Through a Crisis

The COVID-19 global pandemic has made its way into our communities. As more organizations across the nation are faced with making difficult decisions, Agency MABU offers the following tips for communicating through this crisis.

1. Make safety your top priority

Make decisions and take actions based on protecting the health and well-being of your employees, customers and others served by your organization. Although such decisions may be detrimental from a financial or operational standpoint, nothing supersedes the health and safety of your constituents or society at large. Therefore, monitor and follow the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State health departments and other public entities.


2. Don’t panic & overreact

Avoid overreacting or using words that carry supercharged emotion. Instead, use words that balance both the gravity of the situation along with the facts as they unfold. Refrain from making quick decisions based solely on emotion or speculation. Instead, be thorough and thoughtful in your decision making. Be incremental in your response to the situation. Therefore, you don’t need to know or do everything now. Evolve and remain flexible as the situation unfolds.


3. Organize your thoughts and team response

Take time to organize your thoughts. Create an outline with your primary message, supporting messages and desired actions or outcomes of your target audiences. Also, in times of crisis communications, it’s important to organize a team to execute your plan of action. The crisis team will most likely consist of owners, managers, key personnel, outside consultants and subject matter experts. Of course, not all organizations have the same amount of resources so understand that some people wear many hats and take on multiple roles.


4. Plan for contingencies

As with any best practice, having a plan to implement will help you respond proactively and avoid misinformation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus is rising rapidly. Pre-approving the language on press release drafts and having them ready to go out will save precious time. Timely communications in conjunction with activation of the crisis communication plan or other resources are keys to the success and effectiveness of a response team.


5. Focus on the rainbow

Although much uncertainty exists today, rest assured that this storm will ultimately pass. Therefore, anticipate a rainbow. Envision your organization after the storm. Think about the needs that you and your associates are uniquely qualified to meet. Prepare for a new future. Look for the silver lining. Be proactive in learning and adapting from the experience. Our greatest challenges often become opportunities for our greatest triumphs. Take time to reflect now on ways in which you and your organization can evolve to meet future needs and opportunities when the rainbow emerges.


These are uncertain times, indeed. However, together we will rise up to meet the challenges ahead and steer the course of our communities and organizations in a way that inspires the world. Let us know if we can be of assistance to help navigate during these challenging times.


McKenzie County Tourism Plans Beyond the Boom

McKenzie County Tourism Plans Beyond the Boom

Branding and planning to propel beyond the boom


McKenzie County Tourism reimagines its long-term branding and outlook to secure continued success in years to come.



From the early days of the Bakken oil boom, McKenzie County Tourism understood the importance of preparing for the county’s post-boom future, especially that of Watford City, its largest community. In 2013, the tourism bureau grew increasingly concerned about a perceived lack of public safety and inadequate basic infrastructure. They quickly took action to combat the spread of misinformation.



McKenzie County Tourism partnered with Agency MABU on a strategic communication planning process. “Boots on the ground” stakeholders were engaged in the dialogue, including tourism partners, community members, and business leaders. Potential visitors were queried via focus groups. Through this process, MABU learned more about the key attractions that had previously drawn visitors to the area, including outdoor adventure, the Maah Daah Hey Trail, history and local culture, and what would entice them to return.



MABU worked with McKenzie County leaders to develop a new brand. “Watford City, the New Frontier” acknowledges the city’s historical past while recognizing the revitalization taking place. Brand development focuses on recognition of Watford City as a Western community surrounded by beautiful landscapes, agriculture and ranching, history and culture, but now offering big-city amenities, including new hotels and restaurants. Brand messaging reminds people of the availability of rugged outdoor adventures with a bit of luxury at the end of the day.



McKenzie County Tourism’s five-year plan focuses on sustaining the hospitality infrastructure built during the oil boom. The plan includes boosting tourism, maintaining hotel occupancy and restaurant patronage by creating community-building events, activities, and facilities. The re-branding campaign is an integral part of the five-year plan. The campaign began with a strong launch, and, because it was built to respond to changing market needs, it continues to grow and evolve with the tourism group’s strategic efforts.


Strategic Marketing Tips for 2020

Strategic Marketing Tips for 2020

We’ve compiled some strategic marketing tips to consider for your business plans. Utilizing these ideas now can help ensure long-term success.



  • Commit to becoming a strategic communicator
  • Take the time needed to assess and evaluate current and past communications, what worked and what didn’t
  • Adopt an external focus to connect with target audiences



Messages should be:

  • Clear and concise
  • Compelling and emotionally connected
  • Focused on the audience – not about you



  • Identify the purpose and objectives
  • Identify audiences
  • Develop key messages
  • Assess budget and resources
  • Determine how to distribute the message
  • Create an action plan
  • Measure, refine and report



Continuous evaluation is important to your ongoing success:

  • Establish measurement criteria
  • Determine which metrics align with your objectives – for example, website traffic, click-through rates or engagement
  • Adjust your strategy, based upon what you learn



  • Advancements in responsive websites, including optimization for voice search
  • Evolving technologies, such as augmented reality, virtual tours, and 360-degree video
  • Expanded uses of basic communication tools, including explainer videos and blogs