The news cycle tends to move at a lightning speed these days. There used to be a time when a crisis could last weeks, or even months because businesses could only update the information on a daily basis. However, those times have changed, and now, what could be a crisis today, can already be long gone by the end of the workday.
Even so, for a business to navigate and manage a PR crisis in such a short amount of time, the key element is having a previously developed crisis PR response plan. Because any business that starts to develop a crisis PR plan while it’s in the middle of a crisis is already too late. As we mentioned, given how fast the news can spread right now, there’s no time to fully prepare a good plan and navigate a crisis successfully.
It’s absolutely essential that any business has a crisis PR management plan ready to implement when it’s well ahead of getting to the point of a crisis. This way, it’s prepared if anything unexpected occurs.
The very first step in creating and developing a PR crisis management response plan is to establish a team of people that’s going to include any human resources, public relations, spokespeople, as well as management staff that will be working on the plan. Each person’s role on the team has to be clearly identified.
The next step is to determine any and all potential scenarios that can lead to a PR crisis. Once that’s done, the team has to prioritize all of the events, based on how likely each one is to occur. This way, the team can develop customized yet effective responses for any crisis that can impact the business.
While developing essential responses and materials for each scenario is the reasonable next step, the PR crisis management response team should also have regular meetings to review each of the responses, materials as well as the scenarios themselves. These things need to be updated regularly so that they can reflect any changes to the media landscape, changes in employees, or even new product developments.
Aside from regular meetings with the PR crisis management response team, the company’s spokespeople and internal employees should regularly be trained on the plan and procedures regarding any PR crisis. Using simulation exercises for the response team makes it easy to calculate the effectiveness of the plan and the messages.
The company spokespeople should also have regular workshops so that they can retain the necessary information regarding messages and responses long-term. This also leads to them being able to perform a lot better during a stressful situation.
There is plenty of useful information that can be learned from other companies and what they have experienced during a crisis. Observing their responses during a PR crisis and seeing how the public responded each time is a great way to learn from other’s mistakes and successes, and to use that knowledge accordingly.