How to Handle a Public Relations Crisis

No matter your industry, any brand or company is sure to go through some kind of public relations crisis at one stage or another. When you do face a crisis, it is vital that you measure the risk of damage to your brand, and respond in a calculated way.

This need for preparation is why it is essential for a business to have a crisis communication plan already in place. Such a plan can help you manage the issue quickly and effectively, and hopefully help contain the spread of the damage. Here are five tips for managing a crisis when it hits:

Acknowledge the risk

PR disasters can have a devastating impact on a company’s reputation, whether it arises due to poor leadership, poor planning, or unethical conduct on the part of individuals associated with a business. When a crisis rears its head, the first thing to do is to acknowledge and accept that damage has already been done: this will help guide you as you seek out the root of the crisis.

Knowing that your brand is at risk of having its reputation damaged is a stressful reality for any company, and once this damage has occurred the short- and long-term performance of your business is likely to be affected in a significant way. This is why it is essential that you be deliberate in understanding how and why a crisis has occurred.

Hire effective help

Many PR agencies are experts when it comes to crisis communications. A safe bet for your strategy would be to hire an agency that has demonstrable success in dealing with PR crises — and a reputation for helping their clients manage and overcome them.

Such an agency can also work with you before a crisis takes place, and assist you in crafting tailored guidelines for effective communication.

Remember that you need to have a plan for crisis communication before a crisis actually hits. Crisis communication must take place as fast as possible in order to effectively minimize the damage caused, and you can’t be scrambling to reach first base when you really should be planning for the fourth plate.

A good PR company can help you draft effective press statements that have been expertly analyzed before their potential release on social media platforms and forwarding to opinion leaders.

A media monitoring service can also assist in a crisis. Media monitoring can include a range of tools, such as brand tracking, media analysis, and reputation management.

Protect your image

Rebuilding a good reputation after it has already been tarnished takes extensive time and effort. Craft a long-term plan that takes this seriously, and works to maintain your brand’s image even long after a crisis has struck.

While a crisis is ongoing, it is essential that you maintain good relationships with your stakeholders. Draw attention to the ways in which you are tackling the crisis head-on, and plan to improve your business in the long-run.

While the details and timing of a crisis can rarely be predicted, this doesn’t exempt you from crafting savvy crisis communications techniques ahead of time.

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