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When trying to overcome a PR crisis, bad management practices can significantly impact your organization’s bottom line and long-term reputation. A single poorly managed PR disaster can spell the end of even the most established companies’ public relations. Develop your crisis goals and work to achieve them as quickly as possible.
Avoid the worst-case scenario and check out these seven tactics to overcome a PR crisis.
Build a Crisis Communications Team
Create and retain a crisis communications team. These employees come up with a plan of action for your crisis, including your press releases and all other official responses to the public over the next few days, weeks, or months.
PR crises can take some time to resolve. Having a response team on hand, ready to respond, dedicated to forming responses is crucial so your organization can control the narrative, dealing with customer issues, and preserve brand reputation.
Identify a Public Spokesperson
Similarly, identify and train someone in your organization – preferably someone from your crisis communication team – to act as the public spokesperson when a crisis occurs. This person should be the only source of information from your company. They will give out a prepared statement or statements, communicate directly to customers, the public, and media outlets.
Anticipate Questions and Responses
Your crisis communication team should immediately start anticipating likely questions from all possible vectors, including social media, the news, stakeholders, and the public at large. They should then start forming responses to those questions, so they are not left scrambling when the questions start to come in.. If you do not already have one, write a messaging document so that all of your communications are on message and where appropriate have an action that is associated with the message.
Establish Strict Social Media Protocols
Chances are your brand has online social media posting and content plans on platforms like Facebook for marketing messages and key strategies. Scrap those and establish strict social media protocols instead.
Strict social media posting guidelines and regulations will prevent someone on your team from accidentally posting something inflammatory or insensitive on secondary communication channels, which may then exacerbate your current issue into a full-blown public relations crisis. Review each article and all online posts before allowing them to reach your company’s blog or other platforms.
Respond with Facts, Not Defensiveness
Your spokesperson and anyone should always share a message from the business prior to taking anyone’s questions. Those who respond to accusations or questions should only do so with calm facts. Do not respond defensively, and do not put out any company communications that are defensive or antagonistic.
In the court of public opinion, negative emotion by itself could seem guilt-affirming to an audience if you do not have the right message. Stay calm, take responsibility, and stick to the plan that your crisis communication team comes up with to avoid blunders after the initial PR crisis trigger.
Monitor the Response and Adjust Accordingly
As your plan and responses unfold, you and your crisis team should be monitoring any responses as the story develops, including those from social media channels and local or national news. You should then adjust your effective crisis response plan (if necessary) to better achieve your messaging goals.
Continuing to monitor the communication situation will allow your management team to prepare for post-crisis developments, information, or public concerns without seeming aloof or robotic in your responses. You’ll be able to evolve your strategy more effectively.
Plan for Future Crisis Communication Needs
Lastly, the best tactic for winning a PR crisis is to anticipate future ones and draw up plans ahead of time. If you have a crisis communication plan in place for any future situations, you’ll be able to address customer or regulatory questions and concerns rapidly and satisfyingly. Good communications lead to a better outcome all around.
If you need help formulating a future crisis communications plan or managing a crisis, public relations agencies and consultants can be a big help… Contact Murnahan Public Relations today for more information.