Going through a PR crisis can cause serious reputational damage to any business or individual. There have been plenty of cases where there has been a potential for all the events to spiral out of control and lead to a big controversy. This has happened with many high-profile cases that have ended up on the front pages of news outlets.
Furthermore, going through a crisis means that there is a light shining on that individual or company and everyone’s attention is focused on the situation. However, that light is a lot more intense whenever a law firm is involved in that crisis – especially if that crisis involves any sort of misuse of the law. Throughout the past few years, there have been many law firms working with their clients in those terms.
There have also been big changes in the media landscape. Social media has played a big role in creating a 24-hour news cycle, and everyone being able to access any sort of information has led to a lot of potential for situations to escalate and backlash to be created.
This is why whenever a business ends up in a PR crisis, the legal PR team has to create a response that is based on solid legal ground. Otherwise, that response is going to be called out on social media platforms and lead to further scrutiny from the public.
There are very successful stories of legal PR being able to navigate a crisis and then the client comes out on the other side intact, but there are plenty of nuances when it comes to managing a PR crisis that can often be overlooked.
Have a Crisis Management Team
Businesses and brands nowadays have their own crisis management team that constantly assesses any potential dangers to the organization. These teams should have regular discussions so they can assess any of the issues that affect the organization and how they could further develop into a PR crisis.
Create a Plan
Having a plan on how to navigate a crisis is the best way to handle any sort of PR crisis. The crisis management team, along with the legal PR team, need to create protocols and materials and map all of the internal as well as external audiences that can be affected by a crisis scenario. The plan needs to detail how the crisis can develop over time, prepare answers to potential questions, and, where appropriate, involve the rest of the organization and their behaviors during a crisis.
Brief the Spokesperson in Detail
After selecting a spokesperson that’s going to represent the organization in front of the public, this person has to know all of the details regarding the actions that the organization is going to be taking after the crisis is over.
Know When Change Needs to Happen
Going through a PR crisis is the perfect time for organizations to look at the company culture and see whether everything that’s happening is in line with the bigger picture of the brand. It’s important to know when the situation is big or important enough that an internal change is mandated.