How to handle a PR crisis like a pro

A PR crisis can broadly be defined as a situation that threatens the reputation, or integrity of an organisation and its ability to conduct business. With news travelling at the speed of a Twitter feed, it is imperative for brands to have a solid plan, ready to put into action in the event of a crisis.

If your organisation finds itself facing a PR crisis, you can minimise damage by considering the following:

  1. Understand the issue: Take a step back from the panic and really consider what you know, and what you still need to learn, in order to prepare an outgoing response.
  2. Brief your team: Inform relevant team members about the issue and how it affects their role. Clear communication is crucial to ensuring everyone feels confident and that they leave the meeting on message.
  3. Fill in ALL the blanks: Find out how the crisis unfolded from an internal perspective. Encourage honesty and openness between employees.
  4. Consider how it’ll affect the business: Take both short term and long term ramifications into account.
  5. Find out who is saying what: There are a plethora of tools that can help you understand what is being said about you both by news and across social media.
  6. Confirm your organisation’s position and messagingWith points 1 to 4 now considered, prepare your brand’s reaction to the crisis. Make sure your spokesperson is ready to front the media, fully briefed and ready for any interview requests. Messages must show concern for the situation, some context, what action you are taking to rectify it, and any call to action you want people to take.
  7. Distribute your message: Consider which channels are best to reach target audiences, keeping in mind the strengths and limitations of each option. Once the channels have been agreed on, send it out!
  8. Watch the reaction: Continue to monitor social and news channels to gauge whether there’s been a change of attitude.
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