At one point or another, sooner or later, some type of crisis is faced by every business. How a business responds to this crisis, when it inevitably occurs, will be of the utmost importance. A company’s method of crisis management can either alienate partners and customers or create a significant image boost. It’s not always what happens that makes or breaks you—it is how you handle it that makes it memorable.
When crises arise in today’s world, it is not uncommon for the stories of such crises to go viral and spread like wildfire over the Internet and in the news. When that happens, a PR response must be as fast (as possible), suitable and, it needs to make sure that it gets in front of the right people, using all available channels.
These Types of Crises Need PR
Many forms of a crisis can occur which will require the work of a PR team. It could be any of the following or more:
- Internal scandal with dishonesty or fraud involved
- Safety or hygiene issues that received public attention
- Through a company/facility accident, injuries to employees, customers, or guests
Truth be told, numerous predicaments can arise, and they must be addressed. Even if a company itself didn’t cause the problem, in order to maintain a good business reputation, these types of situations must additionally be clarified and taken care of.
The usual attitude is to not confront it, to run away or to pretend that it has nothing to do with you. That is foolhardy. Nature abhors a vacuum. This saying, based on an old engineering rule, is used to convey the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics. In PR, this principle definitely holds true. Don’t speak up, offer “no comment,” don’t get ahead of the story and provide your own narrative… do this at your own peril. For the public will surely fill the vacuum on your story with their own narrative if you don’t—and it will never be good. And could be something you never can come back from. Never leave public opinion to chance.
Addressing Crisis Challenges
When disaster strikes, rest assured, everyone will know. Even a highly respected business can quickly lose its reputation thanks to real time reporting by media outlets. Appropriately and quickly, the crisis must be addressed. Of the utmost importance is to quell the flames. A company must take responsibility and communicate that they are doing so, additionally doing everything in their power to address the problem, solve the issue, and compensate damaged parties.
- To get to the bottom of the problem, collaborate with the police (if they are involved)
- Launch an internal investigation
Communicate with the Public: What to Say and Do
As quickly as possible, lines of communication must be opened, and a company’s crisis management team must speak honestly and openly, but always WITH a plan! The crisis plan must be carried out effectively and quickly through all possible channels: i.e., social media platforms, online media, printed publications, TV, radio, etc. Facts about what the company is doing to not only fix the problem but to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and a heartfelt apology, should be communicated. Be willing to work with the media and be honest. Try not to block their questions.
Reversing the Effects of a Crisis
Okay, you’ve assumed responsibility, you’ve apologized publicly, and let everyone know that, as quickly as possible, you’re going to clear things up and compensate affected parties. By doing so, the negative effect a crisis could have on your business can be reversed. The issue will be remembered, however, rest assured. But to boost public opinion of the company, how the problem was dealt with will also be in the minds of the public, news media, and consumers.
To better serve our clients, JoTo PR takes the established view of public relations and breaks the mold entirely—we call it Anti-PR. Why? To better manage our clients’ everyday PR, we use the science of crisis management. This codified body of knowledge gives us an edge because it’s comparable to taking old, established, everyday PR methods and strapping high-powered rockets to them. Because of our approach, we yield unprecedented results!
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Contact us today to find out more.