crisis pr strategy
crisis pr strategy

The top priority for every crisis communication strategy is to allow for seamless communication during a company crisis. The messages used in crisis communication are supposed to provide the employees with all the necessary knowledge for them to make the right decisions during that crisis. The most common crisis communication situations include data breaches, workplace injuries, product recalls, bankruptcies, or other workplace situations.

Businesses employ different leadership, internal communications, employee communication tools, and PR teams to share important updates or company information during a crisis. Companies need to have sophisticated tools and technology that can monitor different communication channels because that’s the first step in preventing a crisis from ever happening.

Although plenty of business owners and marketers understand the importance of having a sound crisis communications strategy, not all of them have one, which leads to businesses scrambling to get on top of a crisis when it finally happens.

Plan

Just like with every other workplace strategy, crisis communication also needs its own plan and goals. Without these two elements, the organization’s crisis communicators aren’t going to follow the company’s rules and help the employees align themselves with the overarching strategy.

Team

Every business must choose the right people for the crisis communication team. This team should have people from different departments in it, such as HR professionals, managers, the company’s CEO, and people from the PR and internal communications departments. The person who’s going to be communicating with the media and the public – the spokesperson, has to be experienced and trained in handling crises and communicating well with everyone on a timely basis.

Audience

The crisis communication team shouldn’t only be prepared to handle a crisis at any given time, but it should also have a good understanding of the company’s target audience. With bigger companies with different target audiences, the spokesperson has to reach and communicate properly with each of those audience segments, which also means adjusting their approach and messaging.

Two-Way Communication

During a crisis, the employees are another valuable tool because they are the voice of the organization and can be its biggest advocates. Due to social media, what the employees say online can be heard by numerous people, and for this reason, crisis communication should be a two-way street. When employees are allowed to ask questions and raise their concerns internally, everyone can get behind a singular message in front of the public.

Crisis Communications in 2021: The Bottom Line

Whenever a crisis strikes, the organization is under the microscope of the public, which is why it’s important to deliver factual and honest information – even if the answer sometimes might be a simple “We don’t know.” The worst thing during a crisis is giving wrong information to anyone, which can result in a spread of misinformation and significantly damage the company overall, and have a negative impact internally.

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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.