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.