A good or bad reputation will permeate and influence all aspects of your business. Since a business reputation is an interconnected system that powers itself, managing it well is key if you want to continue growing.
How can you continue to build your reputation if the public has limited information about who you are? The public can only feed off of information available to them and then, produce opinions about you. These opinions will dictate how stakeholders interact with and relate to your business.
When you have no reputation however, it is just as detrimental as having a bad one.
Speaking of a bad reputation, do you have strategies in place to help turn the tide in times of need? Here’s what you need to know about proactive crisis management.
Crisis Management Basics
Have you felt inadequate after leaving a meeting or conversation because there was so much you wanted to say, but forgot to? When it comes to heated moments, like dealing with digital bullies, litigation, or the press, it can be very easy to lose your train of thought and dive deep into emotion. With all eyes on you, the pressure is on.
So, it is always better to focus on preparatory mitigation first. Know what you want and need to say before the conversation occurs. Be proactive, not reactive. Having a proactive approach will almost always safeguard you from potential threats to your reputation.
Think of crisis management as a fire evacuation drill. Although, there isn’t an actual fire or disaster occurring in real-time, you still want to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Proactively managing a crisis will also, always cost a company less money, time, and resources in the long run. Though, it’s true a crisis management plan will require you to hold staff training, engage legal counsel, or cover additional related expenses— the sum of these costs will always be lower in comparison to a reactive event.
How to Develop a Crisis Management Plan
Now that you have decided to be proactive about crisis management, it is time to capitalize on your available resources:
- Do you have a suitable candidate who can become your go-to spokesperson?
- How might the public see your business in a negative way?
- Has one individual or group already spread defamatory information about you?
- What potential PR situations have you observed in your industry?
Brainstorm through these reflexive questions. Theu are designed to help your team develop the initial draft of a crisis management plan. We suggest that you aim to cover all possible scenarios. Carefully consider how each one might affect various aspects of your business. Key personnel in your company should also familiarize themselves with the correct media and communication protocols in a crisis.
Be Prepared to Save Your Business Reputation
Never fall victim to the thought that, you’ll never get hit by any crisis at all and if you do, you’ll “just figure it out then.” Crises can span from natural catastrophes, labor disputes, product failures, personnel problems, network breaches, or simply old-fashioned bad press in the media. Be diligent and don’t succumb to panic and stress.
Doing so, will send you down a spiral of more negative press and sting your reputation deep, inflicting irreversible damage. Even after a crisis ends, the company’s response and method will forever be recalled. In this digital era, even deleted emails can be accessed long after they’ve been deleted.
Any assault on your business and brand can come in from so many angles in this modern age within a fraction of seconds. You, as a business owner, will also not receive calls from newsrooms in advance, notifying you that bad press is going to air on XX/XX/XXXX at 5:00PM. Remember this—you will most likely have zero reaction time in the face of a real incident.
Fortunately, proactive crisis management protects business owners speedily within this digital age. Since, most of what is known about one’s reputation is readily available online, managing your reputation digitally allows you to stay cool. Bonus: you get to control your image, not someone else. Here at JoTo PR, we can help you develop a coordinated branding strategy that allows you and your team to assess and handle crisis at the speed in which they happen. Get in touch with us to learn more!