crisis pr plan
crisis pr plan

Every business should be prepared for the inevitability of a communications crisis, which can come from any number of events – from a negative review to a failed event, even a natural disaster. When these situations happen, companies also have to face another aspect of the crisis – rumors, fake news, and cyber attacks.

That’s why it’s always better to have a PR crisis plan and team in place long before they’re needed. Because during the crisis itself, every moment is important, and having a team of people that are prepared on how to respond during that stressful time is the difference between brands that are successful during a crisis and those that aren’t.

Team, Plan, and Statement

As previously mentioned, companies should have a PR crisis team and a plan before a crisis, and everyone involved in a crisis should be listening to the team when the situation finally happens. The team should be diverse because that provides companies with different perspectives, as well as an overview on whether any messages can be misinterpreted during a crisis.

The PR crisis team will also create a plan on what the company should be doing during a crisis. I.e establish a chain of command, as well as an approval process for everyone involved. They will also create general statements that can cover predicted situations beforehand, which can be modified to fit any type of situation.

Monitoring and Listening

Companies should be monitoring and listening to what people are saying about the brand online to identify any potential negative trends. T

here are multiple channels that companies should be monitoring, such as social media, customer review websites, media outlets, and many others. Having a good social listening strategy means that the company will be relatively able to predict the scope of a potentially negative situation and mitigate it before it can turn into a PR crisis.

Additionally, influencers aren’t only useful for influencer marketing campaigns, they can be a beacon of hope for the brand’s reputation and image during a negative situation because they can more easily sway public opinion during a PR crisis.

Truth and Transparency

It’s important to remain calm and stick to the facts during a PR crisis, no matter what others are saying. It’s also essential for the company spokesperson to speak only when they have all the facts, and not try to get ahead of a problem while potentially making things worse because the company doesn’t know all the necessary information.

Finally, when making a public statement, the company should acknowledge its mistakes, and take responsibility for the actions that led to the crisis in the first place.

During that time, it’s essential to sound empathetic, genuine, and vulnerable, and show how the company will be proceeding with its endeavors in the future, and avoid having any similar situations from happening.

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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.