What to do During a PR Crisis
Plenty of companies understand what they need to do before a crisis situation ever happens so they will be able to handle that situation a lot easier once it does start happening. And although many companies tend to have entire PR crisis plans, it’s always helpful to know exactly what a company should be doing while a crisis situation is happening.
Beginning of crisis
Once the public relations crisis starts happening companies need to be open and honest when they’re communicating with the public and with media outlets, however, they should also avoid speculation. The best way to do that is by sticking to all of the known facts. That means it’s perfectly fine for companies to say that they are not able to answer specific questions because they don’t have all the information regarding the crisis situation at hand quite yet. That’s why companies should be communicating with the public and with media outlets about what’s currently going on, and what the company is going to be doing, or what the public should be doing about it. Instead of focusing on what’s already happened, or even getting drawn into arguments, companies should stick to the facts and talk about what they are going to be doing to mitigate any potential problem. They should also be putting the health and safety of their employees, customers, as well as the general public at the top of their list regarding the concerns that the company has, as well as the messages it releases to the public. Companies should also be apologizing for the situation, however, if a PR crisis involves the law in any sort of way, the company’s lawyers are not going to be happy with the company apologizing for the situation. However, by not apologizing, companies are going to come across the wrong way to the public, and the best way to demonstrate compassion and empathy about the situation is to apologize for it.
Middle of crisis
During a public relations crisis, once the company has released its initial statement and apologized about the situation, it’s important to use the senior executives of the company strategically to make them more visible as a way to reassure both the public as well as key stakeholders of the company. They will be able to put the situation into perspective and show the rest of the world that a crisis of that kind to be happening is truly rare, but the company will be able to handle it, nevertheless. It’s also important for companies to ensure that they are using consistent messaging all across-the-board, for the public, the employees, as well as for media outlets to avoid any confusion.
End of crisis
Once a crisis situation has started to die down, companies should be releasing statements about the situation and its aftermath providing the public with answers about the situation that are both simple and concise. The statement should be published in every communication channel that the company is using, as well as distributed to media outlets. Finally, the company should ensure that no one internally is communicating with media outlets, unless they are an official spokesperson for the company, and that the company cancels any pre-planned social media content to avoid seeming offensive during the situation or in its aftermath.