What could be worse than experiencing a PR crisis? Doing nothing about it.
No business is safe from a PR crisis. A small misstep, a muddling of information, a lack of judgement… sometimes it is not even the fault of the company’s but an unfortunate circumstance which shoves the company under the spotlight.
The best way to bounce back is to always be authentic. Give the media the facts and lay out the situation as clearly as possible. With the right crisis management strategy and a huge dose of honesty, you might even turn the bad press around into something beneficial for your business.
Here are some ways you can mitigate the effects of a PR crisis and protect your brand:
Assess the Situation
Assess the circumstances. Based on the background of your company, the nature of the current crisis and the surrounding context, evaluate the entire situation and deduce the next step.
Take it step by step. The priority usually goes to the audience and how an official statement might be drafted in response to the audience. While addressing the issue, note down the terms to avoid and make sure that all those involved are aligned on the message to the audience.
Handling Press and Media Attention
News should always be timely and even more so when responding to a crisis. Work reactively and collate a trove of information and facts that will support your answers when fielded by the press. Though the media may be the ones reporting on the news and some may shed a bad light on the story, they are also the ones who will relay your message to the public and turn the situation around. Know how they work so that you can curtail the crisis. The good news is that news moves quickly and the next trending topic will nudge you aside in no time – if you handle it well!
Bounce Back Stronger
Start to develop plans to heal the damage done. This is where you have to tread lightly – draw attention to the positive aspects of your brand after the crisis but know that your brand reputation has already been compromised. It will take a while to regain brand loyalty and rebuild your voice.
Respond As Soon As Possible
Act fast to show that your business has nothing to hide, is acknowledging whatever mistakes were made and is working to rectify the situation. Setting up Google alerts, monitoring review sites and optimising social media notifications can help you to stay on top of what is being said about your company. By getting involved early in this stage, you are better equipped to steer the dialogue to minimise the impact.
Create a Human Touch
It’s easy for the public to change their perception of a company following a crisis. Simply mishandling an emergency that is outside of your control can change how your customers and partners view the business. It’s important to leverage the power of human connection during any crisis. Consider a human element to your crisis response. Remain warm, friendly and positive when responding to comments, questions or complaints. Make it personal!
Social Media Advice
Social media is a great way to send your message across to your audience quickly. Curate your social media messaging to address the concerns of your audience. Where people are talking about the situation online, let your social media presence be one that your audience can communicate with. Anyone who is looking for information can also be directed to the statement shared online.
Keep Messaging Consistent
All communication must stay consistent and on-brand. It will help to reassure stakeholders with a feeling of stability. A way to ensure this is to already have a crisis management plan in place which includes press releases, social media posts, website updates and other relevant documents. When the crisis hits, the consistent messaging through executive interviews, press conferences and respond to social media enquiries will be timely and aligned.
Avoid the Crisis Before It Happens
Hire a professional PR agency to map out issues and distill an actionable PR crisis management plan. Support is always appreciated during a crisis and a PR expert will guide you through one step at a time.