Understanding the Early Stages of a Crisis
In today’s digitized world, it’s important that companies stay on top of anything that’s being said about them on various digital channels. This is a strategy that can help companies stay on top of any developing situations, understand the impact that their communication strategies have on the audience, and when necessary, respond to questions or comments that consumers might have. Social monitoring is also a helpful strategy that allows companies to get ahead of potentially negative situations that can develop into a full-blown PR crisis. When that happens, there are certain things that businesses need to do in order to better handle negative situations that can impact a brand’s reputation.
Understanding the Problem
Whenever a negative comment or situation happens for a company, there’s a lot of pressure on the business to immediately provide a response. However, it’s important to remember that until the business understands all of the facts about the negative situation, it shouldn’t make any sort of statement. That means the business should first consult with any employees that could be involved in the situation, as well as the company’s stakeholders. That’s the best way that the business can learn what precisely happened to cause a negative situation, and which information has been made public.
Focusing on What Matters
Many companies, during times of crisis, are also tempted to respond to the public by sharing every detail that’s available to them. However, reputation management is all about only sharing information that the public needs to know, and not everything that’s happening behind the scenes at a company. Businesses have to become comfortable only providing enough information so that the public and media understand a company’s response fully. The only people who need all the details of the situation are those who are actually impacted by the problem.
Ethics and Integrity
No matter what happens during a PR crisis, it’s crucial that companies never violate their code of ethics. Most ethics violations are easily spotted by media outlets, which can quickly backfire in a crisis situation. If a company tries to trick the media in any way, the odds are that media outlets are going to notice this and report on it to the public. Maintaining a company’s code of ethics during every sort of situation helps companies maintain their positive reputation and enhance their assets. Companies that avoid tricking the public or the media also gain the trust of consumers faster after a crisis situation, and more buyers are likely to do business with the company in the future.
Companies should also never compromise their integrity and always strive to take the high road. Instead of letting others distract the business from taking the high road, during a crisis, the company should stick to the right decision, even if it’s not the most popular one at the time.