When an organization is faced with a newsworthy crisis, a timely response can help them mitigate the issues about PR. The actions that the organization takes in the first few minutes can help them restore their reputation, or shatter it for a while. It is critical that the people in charge of the organization focus on the urgency of the situation – since the current climate does not allow a grace period during a PR crisis.
The Challenges Regarding Immediate Response
The primary problem that stands in the way of immediate response is the lack of crisis management training that takes the current climate into account. With a number of organizations, the issue lies with the leaders’ or the boards’ outdated crisis management training. The methods that worked a decade ago will no longer be relevant. The audience and the consumer have access to more and more information – at very short notice. Therefore, relying on outdated methods of crisis management is a considerable problem – especially when immediate action is required during a PR crisis.
Why Immediacy is the Key to a PR Crisis
With social media delivering every bit of news about a crisis around the world in seconds, taking immediate action about an issue is the key step that an organization can take. When an organization’s audience or consumer can access real-time videos and pictures about the crisis and remain updated about it, it is crucial for the organization to act fast. While immediacy is essential, it is also important for organizations to understand how they may be able to avert crisis .
The response that an organization makes to a crisis should not only have the right message, it should also be conveyed in the right manner. Along with immediacy, there are certain other things that should be considered about the response. Any response to a PR crisis should have four ‘right’ aspects to it – the right message, with the right words, in the right manner, and to the right demographic or audience. When the four factors align, the only aspect that can make a difference is how timely the response was.
When an organization does not act fast, it leaves them vulnerable. The lack of immediate response allows third parties or competitors to make the crisis worse. Public perception is crucial when it comes to crisis management, and the party that makes the first move will have the advantage of setting the narrative. When the organization is the first mover, it allows them to shape the crisis to their favor – but only if they put out the correct message.
If the action that the organization chooses is denying accountability, then the public perception will likely not be favorable. It will also allow their competitors to use that action against them – and make the PR crisis even worse. An action that deflects accountability and responsibility is not the ideal method of dealing with a crisis – no matter how enormous the crisis may be.
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