This is the Top Crisis Communication Strategy

Crisis Communication

It’s a great feeling to know that a business is sailing calmly, without a storm in sight. However, that kind of calm and serene climate can quickly change, as practically any situation can devolve into a PR crisis situation for brands.

That’s why the most important strategy when it comes to crisis communications is being prepared to face any sort of scenario ahead of time. That doesn’t just mean that the brand is able to weather any storm.

It’s about being able to navigate different potentially negative situations with resilience and grace. That means having a team of people who know what they’re doing and creating strong crisis communications strategies that will help guide the brand through rough waters.

Creating a crisis communications plan

Before any sort of crisis situation can happen or develop, brands need to map out potential risks. Industry-specific threats like data breaches for tech giants or product recalls for food manufacturers, anything that might put the brand and its reputation on the line should be covered. 

But brands should also keep an eye on whatever might happen outside of its control like social media chaos, natural disasters, or whatever other curveball life might throw. The more scenarios a brand is able to map out, the better equipped it’ll be to handle whatever situation ends up happening in the future.

Team of professionals

Not all stakeholders react to a crisis the same way. The investors need different intel than the customers, and the internal team of employees needs reassurance above all else. Identifying the key audiences and understanding their needs helps companies craft targeted messages that resonate and build trust. 

Any word that the company puts out during a time of crisis is going to become a lifeline, connecting to both internal and external stakeholders, and helping them navigate the new situation too.

Building communication channels

Communication channels are the key, the main way that companies can get vital information to everyone who needs it. Press releases for the media, social media updates for the customers, and internal memos for the team of employees. Having clearly defined channels ensures everyone stays informed and on the same page. 

Transparent communication

During a PR crisis situation, it’s easy for anyone to lose their bearings. In many cases, hiring one of the top crisis communications firms is a smart strategy during a crisis. They will help navigate messaging and communication, ensuring you are using clear, concise key messages that demonstrate the core values the company stands by, the promises it makes to the stakeholders. Transparency is crucial, as it can guide brands through any uncertainty the company or the stakeholders might be feeling.

When a company is upfront and honest, even in the face of bad news, it can earn trust and respect. People appreciate knowing the truth, even if it’s not ideal. Another key ingredient is empathy, which keeps everyone grounded despite any criticism. Acknowledge the impact of the crisis on those affected, show genuine concern, and offer support.

Don’t get swept away by defensiveness or blame games. Focus on understanding and addressing the situation at hand. And lastly, there’s accountability. With that, companies will be able to stay on course towards resolution and recovery.

Take ownership of the situation, outline concrete steps for making amends, and demonstrate a commitment to learning from the experience.

Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading crisis PR firm.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 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 275 professionals. 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 is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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