The Changing Landscape of Crisis PR

storm clouds

While every year makes for quick changes across many industries, few areas are impacted by public relations, which is especially true for 2020. It’s been a year defined by PR and general crises, which has left many brands, corporations, and PR experts scrambling to mitigate situations and come out on top of everything while things are still changing.

Fortunately, there are certain tools and strategies that brands and PR agencies can rely on that can be helpful during a developing situation and even before a PR crisis can ever develop. With these tools, agencies can help brands manage media outcomes during difficult times that can potentially harm a company’s brand and public image.

In the past few years, managing a crisis largely came down to the crisis PR team’s judgment and experiences that had to address the issue. There wasn’t much information or data during these uncertain times, but thanks to different tools that have recently become largely available, this has changed drastically.

Using predictive search analysis and other tools, companies and agencies can gather a lot more data in anticipation and preparation for a PR crisis, which helps in developing informed messages for the media and the public and real-time measurements of those responses.

In the current increasingly digitized world, the days of guessing what’s going to happen and how people are going to respond are gone, largely because of these tools and technologies, which have quickly become essential.

A couple of years ago, having a big binder filled with relevant documents or even a PDF document online that the PR crisis team could easily access was considered adequate in preparation for a PR crisis. However, we’re living in a time that has allowed for viral clickbait content, where the issues don’t necessarily develop in the same ways that they used to. That’s why the crisis PR team, as well as everyone that’s potentially involved in the situation alongside the brand, has to prepare for these situations together.

Through regular exercises and simulations, the crisis teams can ensure they are familiar with all of the protocols they should follow. They should also deeply understand the risk management plans developed in place for each of the brand’s partners or vendors. Brands have to develop strong and easy to follow protocols because the risk factors have exponentially increased for everyone involved, which means shared information and crisis management have become essential.

The days when the PR team was seen as a supporting role are gone, which means that during any PR situation, including a PR crisis, these teams have a unique ability to follow current trends, assess situations effectively, and create ideas quickly to help businesses navigate through difficult times. Working from a place of genuine compassion and sincerity has become more important than ever for the public, which means there is a bigger emphasis on what the brand is doing instead of communicating.

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