Every business will go through some kind of public relations crisis communications and is inevitable. How a business handles the crisis determines how and whether they’ll be able to move forward.
What is Public Relations Crisis Management?
The public relations team is the gateway between a company and the public. They are responsible for all external and internal communications including crisis management.
What is the key to successful Public Relation Crisis Management?
Honesty. When crisis strikes within an organization, honesty is key to successfully handling the situation. Ignoring a situation only makes it worse in the long run.
So what are the Golden Rules of Public Relations Crisis Management?
Have A Plan
Crisis management involves dealing with a crisis when it happens, but it begins with having a plan. Every public relations team should prepare a public relations crisis management plan for their clients. Promptness is critical in dealing with a crisis so the organization can control the narrative as soon as the public learns of it.
One key mistake that many companies have made when dealing with crises is not being proactive enough. The longer you wait to respond to a situation, the worse it gets. If you react early enough you can control the narrative, rather than allowing the public to come up with their own stories.
During a PR crisis, never attempt to place blame on outside sources, rather than accepting accountability for what’s happened. Get ahead of the situation, assume responsibility, and apologize. The sooner the better.
“We’ve got it under control” is a blanket statement that does nothing to help your organization during a PR crisis. Instead of making vague statements that do nothing to better the situation, focus on protecting your brand by showing the public that you truly care about what happened and actively working to make it right.
Communicate, Even If You Don’t Yet Have An Answer
Communication is key. Communicate thoroughly with stakeholders, with your team, and with the public. Be transparent about where your organization is at with the handling of things, even if you’re still assessing the situation. Saying “no comment” when asked about a crisis is just as bad as, if not worse than, saying nothing at all.
Be Consistent In Your Response
Having one consistent message every step of the way is key to a smart resolution during a PR crisis. It’s critical to ensure that your entire team is on board with the same message so that you don’t have conflicting messages going out to the public. When you lack consistency, the public loses faith in your brand.
Be Prepared For Backlash
In a world where nearly everyone is active on social media, word gets out quickly and you can’t control what people say on Twitter or Facebook. The quicker you put out a statement, the less social media can harm your brand. It’s important to get ahead of the situation because people will make their own assumptions until you address it and they won’t have a problem putting those thoughts online.
Accept that you can’t please everyone.
Conclusion For Public Relation Crisis Management
A PR crisis is difficult to go through but is inevitable in business. The most important thing you can do for your organization is to have a crisis management plan in place prior to any situation so you’re ready when it happens. This is key to minimizing the damage to your brand and recovering from it swiftly. Public Relations teams exist for this reason, so as long as you show the public that you care and adhere to these Golden Rules, you’ll be prepared to work through any crisis.
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