When a PR crisis hits, it can be a whirlwind of emotions and decisions. You may feel like you are in over your head and don’t know where to start. But don’t worry, you are not alone.
Thousands of businesses have gone through similar crises, and they have come out the other side stronger than ever. This blog post shares the best tips from the pros on how to manage a PR crisis.
1. Don’t Panic
When a PR crisis hits, it is natural to feel panicked. But you need to stay calm and take action. Panicking will only make the situation worse.
Take a deep breath and assess the situation. What happened? What are the facts? Who do you need to contact? What needs to be done? By taking a moment to calm down and get your thoughts together, you can make better decisions.
If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, take a break. Try meditating or going for a walk outside. These activities will help clear your mind and relax your body. This way, you can come back with fresh eyes and a new perspective on the situation at hand.
2. Call in the Troops
When a PR crisis hits, it can feel like you are all alone. But you aren’t! You have your team to support you. These include:
- Your employees (you can’t do it alone)
- Branding companies that specialize in publicity or PR
- Dedicated crisis management team
- Lawyers (to make sure you don’t get sued)
- Accountants (for financial advice)
You may also need to hire a forensic accountant who specializes in investigating cybercrimes if it was an issue with your website or online store.
These people will help you navigate the crisis and manage it appropriately. They will advise on how to respond to questions from customers, investors, and the media. They can also recommend ways to fix any problems identified during their investigation.
3. Have a Communications Plan
There’s no better time to have a solid communications plan in place than in the middle of a PR crisis. This document will outline your strategy for communicating with the media, customers, employees, and other stakeholders. It should include:
- Who is authorized to speak on behalf of the company?
- What are the key messages you want to communicate?
- How will you handle inquiries from the media?
- How will you address customer concerns?
- Who will be responsible for posting updates on social media?
- What kind of resources (time and money) do you need to carry out this plan?
This document can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows their role during a PR crisis. It will also help keep your communication organized and consistent.
4. Be Transparent
In a PR crisis, it is important to be transparent with your customers and the media. Don’t try to hide anything or cover it up. Be honest about what happened and how you are going to fix it.
Show that you care about your customers and their concerns. Apologize for any mistakes made and reassure them that you are doing everything possible to resolve the situation.
The media will appreciate your transparency and honesty. They will likely write more positive stories about your company than if you were trying to cover things up. Customers will also respect you more if you are upfront and honest with them.
5. Take Action
A PR crisis can be a time of chaos and confusion. But it is important to take action and move forward. Don’t dwell on the past but focus on fixing the problem and moving forward.
This means taking steps to resolve the issue, such as:
- Fixing the problem that caused the crisis
- Restoring trust with customers and stakeholders
- Improving communication throughout the company
- Developing better policies and procedures to prevent future crises
The key is to be proactive and take action before the situation gets worse.
6. Deliver a Consistent Message
In a PR crisis, you need to deliver a consistent message. This means communicating the same information to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the media. Be sure to keep your key messages simple and easy to understand.
Don’t change your story or try to spin the situation in your favor. This will only confuse people even more. Stay calm and stick to the facts.
The media will appreciate this approach, and it will help them write accurate stories about what happened. Customers will also feel reassured that you are being honest and transparent with them.
Managing a PR crisis can be daunting but following these tips can help make it a little easier. By staying calm, calling in the troops, having a communications plan, being transparent, taking action, and delivering a consistent message, you will be well on your way to managing the crisis effectively.