No one likes a PR crisis but, try as you might, they are likely an unavoidable reality for your business. The Forbes Agency Council is a community for PR and media strategy executives, and we’ve collected a few top tips from these PR pros to keep in mind ahead of your next PR flare-up.
- Listen To Your Team First
It’s too easy to be reactive, especially when your company’s brand and reputation are at stake. Don’t comment, post or tweet before you’ve conferred with your PR team on what the best, most reasoned approach will be. If you have a great team (and you should!), they will be on top of this and will have crafted language you can use immediately. – Diana Wolff, LRG Marketing
- Develop Strong Organizational Brand Culture
Prevent the crisis. It’s easy to blame frontline employees for recurring viral nightmares, but they’re not responsible for the toxic brand culture that breeds them. An organizational brand culture that treats customers badly likely treats its employees poorly too. Dig deep into organizational culture and service delivery and you’ll find that new lows in brand experience always start at the top. – Stephen Rosa, (add)ventures
- Turn Off The Fan
When the you-know-what hits the fan, the first rule of crisis management is to turn off the fan. Don’t fuel the fire. Step back, put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and ask, “How would I feel if this happened to me?” Looking in the mirror is the best PR advice there is when dealing with crisis situations. It ensures we do the right thing. And right beats spin every time. – Kim Miller, Ink Link Marketing LLC
- Avoid Knee-Jerk Reactions
Companies, brand representatives or influencers often provide emotional, frenzied responses. Going silent on social is not a bad thing when you are monitoring a crisis. Freeze all external communication until you can assess what’s going on. Be sure that the first external communication following the crisis is a well-thought-out response that resonates with your consumers. – Coltrane Curtis, Team Epiphany
- Be Prepared
No one wants to be at the center of a scandal, but scrambling around because you’re not prepared to handle it takes things from bad to worse. Anticipate potential crisis scenarios and establish internal protocols for handling them. Before a crisis hits, outline who needs to be notified, your internal review process, and the individuals who are authorized to speak publicly on your behalf. – Lindsay Mullen, Prosper Strategies
Death, taxes and PR headaches. That’s the reality of life in the age of the internet and a public relations toolbox that reflects this is the only one that you will be able to rely on when the proverbial waste hits the fan.