Employee, Vendor, and Client Advocacy in a Crisis

During a public relations crisis, organizations have to use all the tools at their disposal to overcome the said crisis, restore brand reputation, and maximize public trust. But you do not have to use regular crisis management strategies: you can also rely on advocacy to deliver a strong brand message as well!

Employee advocacy, in a nutshell, is any promotion of a company or organization by team members who know it best. Because brand presentation is essential during any crisis, leadership must leverage employee advocacy with strategic crisis management to maximize results.

Brian Murnahan discusses the role of advocacy in a crisis

You can use employees, vendors, and clients to advocate for your brand and overcome a crisis more quickly than usual. Here is how.

Advocacy in Crises Communication

If your organization is in the bullseye of public questions your best strategy may not be to use executive communications.
If your organization is in the bullseye of public questions your best strategy may not be to use executive communications.

We will break down how advocacy can assist organizations with crisis communication in detail.

Increasing Trust

Employee advocacy can be outstanding for crisis communication by increasing trust in your company. Outsiders looking in on any crisis scenario will see your staff members vouching for your company and think more positively about your brand as a result. After all, companies with poor working conditions or mistreated employees are not likely to have employees advocating for them.

By increasing trust in your brand, employee advocacy can make future crisis communication more trustworthy and improve the effectiveness of any company apologies or admissions.

Media and the public are more likely to take the unbiased views of an organization during a time of crisis.
Media and the public are more likely to take the unbiased views of an organization during a time of crisis.

Aligning Crisis Communication Visions

Furthermore, advocacy can play a crucial role in crisis communication and management by aligning different communication visions or goals. In complex PR crises, multiple messages might accidentally go out simultaneously, confusing the image you want to present to the press and the greater public.

Employee advocacy supports your strategic communication strategy when leaders provide quality training on how best to communicate to their employees.

For example, the crisis management strategy for your company might involve strict social media policies, including guidelines for how and when your employees should post messages about the brand on social media. When leveraged correctly and with oversight, employee advocacy can be another effective tool in your crisis communication kit.

Showing Unity and Consistency in Crisis Management

Consistent messaging can be extremely effective in regaining brand trust.
Consistent messaging can be extremely effective in regaining brand trust.

Most importantly, advocacy shows unity and consistency across your brand and any communication channels. It is one thing for management or executives to say positive things about the brand – the public and the media both expect this, but having employees that are willing to share a positive account of their experience adds so much more value to the message.

It is another thing entirely for the employees of your organization to vouch for your brand and say the same things during a critical moment in a crisis. Suppose employees and executives say the same unified message. Then people are more likely to listen to your communications and believe corporate statements. Displaying a unified front of communications is invaluable for getting over a PR crisis quickly or repairing a brand’s reputation after a visible mistake.

Ultimately, advocacy is a vital crisis communication tool you can and should leverage during all PR crises. With advocacy, you will overcome those crises more quickly and minimize the chances of more damage during crisis management.

Crisis Communication Management

Though it is always better to plan before an emergency, having the a specialty team with the experience to support your organization is critical. At whatever stage you find yourself in, we can help your organization with crisis communication, issues management, communication plans, media training, and tips to put your brand in the best position possible to come out on the other side with your reputation and public trust intact.

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