The rules of PR crisis management

A crisis is inevitable for any business. It can result in loss of public support and trust. Without a proper crisis management plan, the reputation of a company may be damaged beyond repair. Crisis management should involve a set of tools and practices which can reduce the effects a crisis can cause to an organization. Creating a crisis communication plan can be a difficult task. The risks are high and it is challenging to plan crisis communication strategies in detail without knowing exactly what one is planning for. 

Common challenges

During a crisis, it is common for a crisis manager to be overwhelmed with the amount of information that is flying at them. Both the quality and quantity of information can be problematic. A PR practitioner has to think in advance about how to get information out to team members and audiences. An effective strategy would be to have a centralized dashboard where, during a crisis, all relevant stakeholders can exchange information and monitor the situation in real time.

Before the crisis, one of the easiest things to plan is contact information. A contact list should be easily accessible in case of an emergency. Contacts should be stored in a system where they can be stored according to categories so that the right people can be contacted during a crisis. There would be no need to go through an entire list. A quick response during a crisis makes all the difference. To alleviate the damage caused to a brand by a crisis, certain steps have to be taken as stated below.

Respond quickly

The most important thing is to avoid panic. If one panics, then the message crafted might be garbled and clumsy. For instance, in 2015, Talk Talk , an internet service provider suffered a cyber attack. From the point of view of the audience, there was a sense of panic that pervaded the message they sent out. The scale of the issue was exaggerated in TV interviews which caused confusion among the customers. When an issue arises, it has to be addressed head on.

Take ownership

Taking ownership can be difficult but that is the first thing that one has to do. Not taking responsibility might lead to an erosion of trust in the business. There has to be an acknowledgement that a crisis has happened. The crisis could be an internal mistake or an attack from an external source. The spokesperson selected to address the audience for crisis management should accept responsibility for dealing with issues that arise from it. This should be followed by an apology. An apology demonstrates that a business cares and wants to fix the issue.


The response during a crisis should be marked by accuracy and truth. The initial communication will be followed by an investigation to ascertain what damage has been done and how it can be fixed. There shouldn’t be any lack of ongoing communication during the investigation. The ongoing communication also provides an opportunity to rebuild trust after a crisis.

You may also like...