There is a difference between a brand or company making a simple customer-service blunder, a company having a vast communications crisis. However, the line between can become fine if a situation is not handled correctly. Even the most minor customer service-related errors can turn into massive problems that get media and public attention.
Each needs to be navigated differently
If an incident is a communications crisis, it will be severe enough to impact more than the markets and public relations departments. Leadership may need to make a public statement and be part of the crisis communication plan. More significant, established brands can often deal with the fallout from a crisis because they have a good reputation, staff, and experts available to them. Emerging or independent, smaller companies can be killed if they don’t appropriately address a pr crisis.
There is not a single example of a PR crisis
They can happen due to not enough inventory of a highly anticipated product, a poorly-thought-out tweet, or an individual who is part of a brand or company and who’s behaving poorly, either on or off the clock. The internet is forever; degrading, rude, or dismissive responses to customers will live on, even if the company deletes them. And deleting poorly worded statements and social media posts are often seen as a wrong PR decision and can lead to a PR crisis.
A PR crisis can heavily impact a company if it is a crisis regarding a negative aspect of its industry, not directly to the company itself. PR crises happen frequently. Brands need to be aware of PR crises in their sector and note how other companies and individuals react to and address them.
Always have a plan
A response team dedicated to PR crisis communications or planning before an incident happens have two solid strategies for navigating crises. Responding directly about the issue as quickly as possible, with reliable information and facts, can help soothe the situation.
Brands need to communicate and navigate PR crises with one voice. Conflicting information is confusing and makes brands look disingenuous to their customer bases. Depending on the type of crisis, specific departments may need additional staff or training on how to speak to the media about an ongoing issue.
Every employee connected to and will address an issue publicly needs to have a clear idea of their role and how it interacts with the plan. Transparency is critical. Not giving employees all of the facts can lead to mistakes in communication, which can make the problem worse for a brand.
Companies must not make any promises or statements that they cannot follow through with or keep. The best way to handle a situation that is getting internet scrutiny and attention is to apologize as soon as possible. Follow up with any employees, individuals, and customers directly involved in the incident, and ensure that it will not happen again.