In light of last week’s rather scandalous #PRDisaster with #USAirways‘ accidental porn tweet, we thought it might be a good idea to talk about how to go about patching your business’ public image after a stint of bad press.
According to Irish Republican and “drinker with a writing problem”, Brendan Behan, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” This may be true for celebrities like Miley Cyrus, but it doesn’t bode well for your business. Although crisis is always unexpected, you can plan for more than you think. The key is staying in control from the start.
There are three key steps to successful crisis management in public relations campaigns – pre-planning, confronting a crisis, and managing the media.
Pre-Planning: There are several steps you can take to ensure you are ready for a crisis before the time comes. First, make sure you have established a crisis communication team. This could include a whole slew of people in larger businesses, but in a small business, this could be as simple as you, a PR advisor, and a lawyer that you are able to call at a moment’s notice. Make sure this team is unified and that all decisions come internally. Next, make sure you have consistent messages. Prepare for known industry issues and always keep your thumb on the pulse of PR crisis’ in your industry so you are able to adapt to the changing environment. And, be ready with a list of possible questions you will face and your answers. Finally, be prepared with a communication list that is easily accessible to your crisis communication team.
Confronting a Crisis: When and if a crisis occurs, make sure you are able to recognize and accept it quickly because the key to these situations is to act quickly and precisely. And, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep your message honest. Meet with your crisis communication team, review your pre-planning and decide on your plan of action. Be prepared to control the flow of information. The best way to accomplish this is to establish a single spokesperson even if it is yourself. This will help to keep your message consistent and reliable and minimize any confusion. Establish a central location to disseminate your news – your website is usually an ideal choice.
Managing the Media: The media can be the most daunting part of a crisis to deal with. If at all possible, launch an offensive campaign before the media comes to you. DO answer questions openly and honestly. Refrain from the typical “no comment” umbrella. But, speak in context so there is no room for misinterpretation.
For more on this, see: http://bit.ly/OgMOFC