Getting Ahead of a Crisis Before it Happens

2019-06-28 by Ronn Torossian
Getting Ahead of a Crisis Before it Happens

Crisis management. Two words that no business wants to have to handle, but unfortunately this is often a part of running a company. Inevitably, something negative will happen. The effects of these types of situations are highly dependent on how they are handled.

But why wait until there is a crisis to handle? Being proactive can save a lot of time and headache when it comes time to actually employ a crisis management strategy.

Having a proactive plan and approach to crisis management can make a world of difference, but how is this accomplished?

Assemble an Experienced Crisis Management Team

First and foremost, ensure that the best people for the job are on the crisis management team. Those with backgrounds in crisis management and/or public relations are often great fits for this type of job.

These individuals should have the ability to anticipate problems before they arise and should have no qualms of jumping right into damage control mode. When the situation comes up, these professionals should have a well-practiced plan in place.

Having the right people for the job in a crisis management situation will make a big difference for the mitigation of any problems that come up, big or small. Trusting these individuals will be important, as they will be the ones tasked with “fixing” the problem from a communications standpoint.

Make Sure the Script is Ready to Go

It’s time for a press conference concerning a recent publicity crisis a business is undergoing. While the crisis management team is great behind closed doors, taking no prisoners and handling problems, what some may forget is that public speaking and the ability to stand up and be a spokesperson for the company are highly valuable traits.

So ensure that whoever will be the designated person to give statements is well-versed in working with the media. One of the worst things that can happen during crisis management is that the spokesperson says or insinuates the wrong thing, allowing the media to take it and spin a different version to the public.

To alleviate the disaster stemming from a poor spokesperson, make sure that there are proper media training protocols in place. And make sure to practice this, as this can help make the spokesperson more comfortable if and when the need comes up.

Monitor Public Perception at All Times

Another way to stay ahead of the metaphorical curve is to keep an eye on what consumers are saying about the business. This practice serves multiple purposes, but for crisis management, this monitoring can be a finger on the pulse of what is happening.

News on the internet spreads like wildfire, so it’s important to have an idea of what the consumer conversation is before it hits this fever pitch.

Setting up Google Alerts and monitoring social media conversations can help the crisis management team stay one step ahead should trouble arise. In addition, this is also an opportunity to build a better relationship with customers by initiating and engaging in conversations with them online.

Crisis management doesn’t have to signal panic. With a well-organized strategy for how to deal with problems if and when they come up, the right team for the job, and a way to monitor the conversations happening online to stay one step ahead, a business will have less to worry about when it comes time to do damage control.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities