In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, a PR crisis can happen to any brand, no matter how big or small. In times of crisis, internal communication is crucial for brands to ensure that their employees are well-informed, and aligned, and can support the company’s efforts to manage the situation. In the aftermath of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, others should learn more about the best practices for internal communication.

Being Proactive and Transparent

During a PR crisis, it’s essential for brands to communicate proactively and transparently with their employees. This means sharing relevant information about the situation, how it’s being addressed, and what employees can do to help. By being proactive and transparent, brands can ensure that employees feel informed and valued. This can help to minimize anxiety and confusion. To do that better, brands should have a clear communication plan in place before a crisis occurs. This plan should outline how communication will be managed during the crisis. It should list who will be responsible for communicating with employees, and what channels will be used to communicate. The plan should also specify the tone and messaging that will be used in all communications to ensure consistency. Brands should stay on top of the news and be prepared to adjust their communication strategy as needed too. This may involve monitoring social media and setting up Google alerts. Companies can also have a dedicated team that’s responsible for tracking news and responding to new developments.

Using Multiple Communication Channels

During a PR crisis, it’s important to use multiple communication channels to reach employees. This includes email, social media, internal communication tools, and even face-to-face meetings. By using multiple channels, brands can ensure that employees receive timely and accurate information. Brands will also ensure that they have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. It’s important for brands to monitor employee feedback too. That way, they can adjust their communication approach as needed. This can involve soliciting feedback from employees on how they’re feeling and what questions they have. Companies can also inquire about any additional information they need. 

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Providing Resources and Support

During a PR crisis, employees may experience anxiety, stress, or other negative emotions. Brands should provide resources and support to help employees manage their feelings and stay focused on their work. This can include access to counseling services and training on stress management techniques. It can also include regular check-ins with managers or HR personnel. During a PR crisis, it’s also essential for brands to communicate in an empathetic and authentic manner. This means acknowledging the impact that the situation may be having on employees and other stakeholders. Brands should demonstrate a commitment to addressing the issue in a transparent and accountable way. By showing empathy and authenticity, brands can build trust and credibility.

Designating a Spokesperson

Designating a spokesperson who will serve as the face of the brand during a crisis is crucial. This person should be media-savvy, knowledgeable about the situation, and able to communicate effectively with employees and stakeholders. Having a designated spokesperson can help to ensure that all communication is consistent and on message.

Fostering a Culture of Open Communication

In order to effectively communicate during a crisis, brands should foster a culture of open communication within their organization. This means encouraging employees to speak up if they have concerns or questions. Companies should also be providing the employees with regular opportunities for feedback and dialogue. By creating a culture of open communication, brands can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working together towards a common goal.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 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 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. 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, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. 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, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.