Crisis Communications Tips
Crisis communication is integral to any organization, more so in today’s fast-moving, digital world where your reputation could be affected in a moment.
Most of your work for crisis communication should be done well before a crisis takes you unawares. With a crisis’s management plan in place, you don’t need to struggle to manage a crisis. Instead, you are free to operate more flexible and put your communications strategy into effect right away.
Communication is the key that can make or mar your company’s fate during a crisis - or rather, any unanticipated event, such as a security breach, product defect, negative press, or lawsuit.
Not sure of where to begin? Here are some important crisis communication tips from Impact PR to help you sail through difficult times.
A quick response to any issues that arise is extremely important in today’s age of digital and social media. Moreover, in most cases, if you take time to respond to a crisis, people typically to two conclusions – either the brand is guilty or it lacks control of its message.
One principle that’s strongly believed in PR for decades and followed diligently at our organization is, ‘If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.”
Experts recommend responding on the same channels where the crisis initially occurred. For example, if a set of negative remarks have first surfaced on Facebook, post any updates or feedback on Facebook before other social media platforms. The longer you take to respond to the commentary, the stronger, and angrier, the audience will become.
In today’s digital age, minor mistakes can turn into major crisis within minutes.
Victims first strategy
The victims first strategy is crucial in times of a crisis. Remember, it’s the victims who are at the receiving end, acknowledge their pain, suffering, and frustration before you go to the root of whether your company caused the problem or not.
The starting point always has to be about the people and what they are undergoing. The next step is to sincerely apologize and take responsibility of your actions. Any refusal to do so can cause irreparable damage to your brand and breed mistrust with the public.
Victims want, and deserve, acknowledgement. Do not forget to put you audience first when you are issuing an apology.
Avoid the blame game
When a crisis occurs, try not to play the blame game as it creates negative publicity for a brand. Even if you are not the one at fault, put yourself before the victims rather than focusing first on who was the culprit. While others will be fast to place blame, wait till the crisis settles down before you start pointing fingers.
Again, it is important to prioritize your audience and their feelings above everything else.
When a crisis strikes, you are under the public lens and every move you make is going to be judged by the masses. Being upfront and transparent is always a better option than to plead ignorance or stonewall.
Experts recommend sharing any additional, related information that could paint the company in a negative light. The more information you try to hide, the more negative the company will look in the public eye.
Have a plan in place
A crisis management plan allows you to mitigate the damage brought about by a disaster and respond as gracefully as possible. While it would near impossible to anticipate everything that could go wrong, brainstorm your team with potential scenarios and map out how you would react, so you’ll be better equipped to handle if the situation does occur in reality.
Focus on situations that relate with your organization’s product, services, and industry—especially where the chances of something going wrong are high.
While we all hope never to experience a crisis, but it pays to expect the unexpected and have a crisis communications plan in place.
There is a need to take stock of the damage to your company and your company’s image after the crisis is over. You may want to take steps to repair your company image, therefore, continue to monitor media outlets to determine if there is a need for further action.
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