As a PR professional, a public relations crisis is a lot like how a firefighter views a fire. It is not something we ever want or get excited about, but when it does happen, we have the training to be able to step up and get the situation under control before things get too out of hand.
But if you don’t have a veteran of the PR industry in-house, then trying to deal with a PR crisis will be like trying to put out a huge fire with only a kitchen sink and a small bucket … and the bucket has a hole at the bottom. This article will teach you how to stifle a PR fire before it gets out of control.
1. Establish a Crisis Response Team
There is no place for heroes during a PR crisis. This is because they will attempt to do everything themselves, thinking that they have the answer to every issue but inevitably end up making the situation worse.
If you don’t already have a crisis plan in place, this is why you need to create a response team that includes several individuals who come from diverse roles within the company, so that you have multiple viewpoints being brought to every issue. This team should preferably be led by the CEO or some other executive in order to make sure the messaging produced by the team matches the thought process of the company leadership.
2. Acknowledge the Situation and Be Accountable
One of the worst things that someone can do when they have a public relations issue is to simply ignore it. Think about it—when does ignoring a problem ever make it better?
That is why you need to be sure to acknowledge a public issue right away and make sure you are taking responsibility if there is even the slightest blame on your company. Trying to pass the buck will almost always backfire, and make your brand come off even worse than if you said nothing at all.
3. Don’t Hold Back Key Details
When you tell the truth, which is highly recommended, you need to make sure that it is the whole truth. In this age of online civilian detectives, any details that you try to hide about a situation are likely going to come out sooner or later.
But if you are clear about the details from the beginning, this will be better received than lying or omitting information to make your company look good. Plus, this level of transparency will make 85 percent of customers more likely to stay loyal to your company through this crisis.
4. Prepare for Backlash and Follow Up Responses
There has rarely ever been a PR crisis that ends after the company gives its official response. This usually triggers a second wave of backsplash, with the majority of it likely coming on social media platforms. Therefore, you need to start planning for social media backlash early and begin formulating follow-up statements as soon as you publish the initial response.
Don’t let your company be caught off guard by a PR crisis and throw your entire brand reputation down the toilet. Instead, enlist the help of professional Las Vegas PR agency GYC Vegas that will ensure you have a solid plan to weather a storm.