This study aimed to identify the key components of crisis preparedness and understand the relative importance of various public relations (PR) factors to suggest efficient ways to prepare for a pandemic crisis, such as COVID-19. We highlight the processoriented approach of crisis preparedness in addition to the static readiness in response to a crisis. Specifically, we conducted an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) using focus group interviews and a pairwise comparison questionnaire with 25 PR experts from academia, industry, and local governments. The experts highlighted a three-level hierarchical structure of crisis preparedness. At the highest level, issue management (43.3%) was relatively more important than crisis communication (30.4%) and risk communication (26.3%). Overall, we observed that process-oriented crisis preparedness (e.g., monitoring issues, building positive and resolving negative issues, and reporting crisis) are relatively more important than the static preparedness system (e.g., budgets and printing periodicals, or classic offline PR tactics such as communication with different stakeholders and interest groups). Overall, we highlight the importance of pre-crisis readiness over post-crisis readiness, preemptive PR over typical offline PR activities, and intangible trust-building based on systematic information monitoring.
Ⅱ. Literature Review