Whenever a brand or company seems to be on the receiving end of any damaging or negative publicity, it is clear that there is a public relations crisis happening. These are serious events that are very disruptive for any organization, no matter how big or small. Additionally, thanks to the prevalence, as well as the popularity, of social media use, it’s easy for a PR crisis to spread globally in a manner of minutes.
While back in the day, the only notable reasons for a PR crisis used to be corporate scandals or natural disasters, these days, a crisis can happen for much lower stakes. Organizations have to be able to combat hackers, rumors, fake news, and even cyberattacks.
PR Crisis Degrees
A PR crisis from a first degree is anything that has the potential to become a complete disaster to the point where the organization is going to have trouble walking away without any damage. These types of crises include any workplace harassment situations, corporate impropriety or even product recalls.
Next, a PR crisis from a second degree is anything that is not as serious as the previously mentioned situations, but still shouldn’t be ignored. These situations include any complaints from customers that should be dealt with promptly before they can escalate any further and bring the situation to a crisis of a first degree.
Finally, a PR crisis from a third-degree is anything that could potentially damage an organization’s reputation simply by association. If a competitor or anyone in a related industry to the organization is undergoing a PR crisis that could even tangentially tarnish the brand’s reputation falls into this category. This is why it is important for organizations to monitor social media channels and provide statements as fast as possible to create distance.
Avoiding a PR crisis
The only way for an organization to outright avoid getting itself in a PR crisis is to not exist in the first place. However, there are always ways to minimize all of the risks when dealing with a PR crisis.
Expect the unexpected
It is never easy to completely prepare for a PR crisis, and that’s why it’s important to always keep track of everything that is happening within the industry and to respond accordingly. This also involves keeping track of what the employees, as well as the customers, are talking about on their social media profiles, to get ahead of any crisis and have an easier time predicting an outcome.
Set content rules
Any messages on social channels, in interviews, press releases or blog posts need to be checked and approved before being published. This includes going over the content for factual information, offensive remarks and even spelling or grammar errors.
Be swift, but don’t rush
Whenever there’s a PR crisis developing, it’s important to take a moment before crafting a response. However, that moment shouldn’t take too long as other outlets or individuals can easily take control of the narrative during that time. Avoid getting emotional or the situation is going to get worse.