Creating a Crisis Communication Plan
Businesses of any size and in any industry can experience a PR crisis. From product recalls to data breaches, or a negative review from an influential customer, it’s essential that companies be ready with a crisis communication strategy.
Identifying potential risks
To create a PR crisis plan, the first step is to identify potential risks. This entails examining the company’s products, services, operations and reputation to detect any issues that may lead to a PR crisis. For example, if the company produces a product with safety concerns in its history, it needs to consider how it would respond in the event of another incident.
Creating a crisis communication team
To plan for potential risks, companies should create a crisis communication team consisting of key members. This team needs to develop and put in place a crisis communication plan, with everyone trained and ready to respond in a crisis. Members could include executives, PR professionals, and legal advisors.
Developing a crisis communication plan
It’s time to create a crisis communication plan. This plan details each step in the event of a crisis and assigns responsibility for each. It also includes materials for crafting press releases and social media posts. Companies can also include other communication materials that are easy to customize during a crisis.
Establishing communication protocols
When dealing with a crisis, structured communication channels must be set up. This includes informing key stakeholders such as employees, customers, shareholders and the media. Businesses should create a plan for how they will relay information to these groups. Detailed internal communication protocols, like using email, telephone or messaging platforms are necessary.
Monitoring social media
Social media has immense potential to influence a public relations crisis. Companies should watch social media channels for any negative mentions of the brand and respond to them. Establishments can extend statements, address individual comments, or even engage with customers to account for concerns.
Training the team
Crisis communication teams must train and prepare to act in a crisis. To ensure this, companies should have regular training sessions featuring mock scenarios. Staying up-to-date on industry best practices and assessing the plan is also key.
Evaluation and learning from past crises
It’s essential to analyze past crises. Once the issue settles down, businesses need to assess which aspects were successful and identify areas for improvement. This information can be used to update the crisis communication plan and enhance crisis management approaches.
PR crises can come in many forms, from product recalls to negative reviews. To mitigate the effects of a PR crisis, companies should create a crisis communication plan and team responsible for responding. This includes setting up structured communication channels, monitoring social media and evaluating past crises to improve future responses. Following these steps will help businesses stay ahead of any PR crises.