You won’t know what hit you when you are in the middle of a PR crisis. Almost all businesses must deal with public relations issues at one point in their journey. It can encompass any kind of negative news or bad reputation for a company in the public’s eyes.
A PR crisis is like a whirlwind that has the potential to blow up your business setup. But all is not lost. There are steps you can take to prepare for a PR crisis. You can also outsource your PR management to a public relations agency. Keep reading and take notes on how to prepare for PR crisis management.
Steps To Prepare For PR-Crisis Management
Plan and be prepared ahead of time
Practically, it is more about when a crisis will fall rather than if. And when it happens and you are engulfed in it, you won’t have time to formulate plans and build teams. All the planning and preparation is best done beforehand so that immediate action could be taken in a PR crisis.
Form an effective response team
To react appropriately and quickly in a PR crisis, you need to have a crisis response team in place. This should ideally be done before a crisis strikes.
Your response team should be based on people from diverse backgrounds. This is crucial so you can better deal with a public emergency that is playing out in front of individuals from different backgrounds.
Set training sessions in place for the team. There must be a confident and camera-suitable media spokesperson for dealing with public announcements in case of a crisis. A separate leader could be appointed if the CEO wants but for better management, the company leader should also be heading the crisis team.
Define proper hierarchy levels in the response team – who will report to whom in the crisis scenario. It should be very clear who is the first person to be informed and who will call the shots in an emergency. Mostly it’s not a one-person thing, and leaders must work together for the best response.
Keep all resources at hand
Crisis can grip your company anytime, even in the middle of the night. You should have all-important contacts, important people, and other possible resources available to you quickly. For example, what contact medium to use in a crisis? Is email more feasible, or should people be notified via Whatsapp? Also, decide the most effective medium for communication among the team, like Zoom or Skype.
Templates and Practice of the Possibilities
The experts in crisis communication must prepare templates for some common situations. These should be generic responses that you could release with a few tweaks. Also, have the team role-play a crisis and how every member should respond efficiently. This will save time and effort in a similar circumstance.
Brainstorm problems and disasters that could happen and build templated plans around them. You will be able to use it often with a few changes to the script.
Keep updating the plans annually
There are new modes of communication around. More brands are moving towards a social media strategy for image management rather than releasing statements via a public relations agency. So, keep revisiting your PR crisis plans and update according to your company’s overall strategies. Don’t stick to a decade-old plan.
Don’t waste time waiting for a PR crisis to strike. Be always ready. The sooner you respond, the better you will be able to handle a situation. The public can be molded better if you are vigilant. And above all, be calm and cool in any crisis.
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