All businesses will face some sort of a public relations crisis, and the way a company responds can either negatively or positively set the tone for your brand. It can also deeply affect relationships with the public and potential business partners. There couldn’t be a more important time for organizations to have an effective plan in place in terms of implementing crisis management in a timely manner. Especially in this day and age, when news goes viral almost instantly, companies need to be ready to respond to any PR crisis quickly and efficiently, using any and all media platforms. When responding to a sticky situation, it’s important that companies quickly circulate positive and accurate information (and refute any false news)! In addition, it’s important to create a strategy to maintain ongoing updates and information delivered to the public.
To ensure a speedy recovery to a negative PR crisis, here are 5 tips for companies to keep in mind.
- Be Proactive – Don’t wait for a crisis to arise to put a crisis management plan in place. Anticipate potential crisis developments and work with your team on a go-to protocol to implement when you are faced with a problem. This will ensure a timely response that can reinstall the public’s trust in your brand!
- Don’t hide – Transparency is key. No one wants to feel like they are investing time and energy into a company that never really shares the whole story! Keeping the public in the loop on the not-so-good is equally as important as showcasing the highlights. It’s never a good sign hearing bad news from someone other than the source!
- Respond quickly – The longer you wait to put out the fire, the more damage can be done. Your audience wants to see that the company cares about those who invest time and money into them, so it is important to show that you are on top of it, but still remain factual. Responding with “no comment” or giving insight “off the record” creates room more false allegations to be spread and negative assumptions about what’s going on behind the scenes.
- Have a strong core – At time of crisis, it’s important to check in on what’s going on on the inside. Is what is happening on the outside directly reflective of the culture inside the company? How a customer feels about how a company treats them is often linked back to how a company treats its employees! Having strong values and culture within the company can be a great help in preventing future crises.
- Take responsibility – In a time of crisis, it is important to remember that we’re all human. Showing real concern for people affected by a situation goes a long way in maintaining one’s faith in a brand! Instead of fueling a public argument, respond to the right questions and conversations, apologize and be open about your company plans on moving forward.