How to Prep for a PR crisis

ST-A26-25-62 29 October 1962 Executive Committee of the National Security Council meeting. Clockwise from President Kennedy: President Kennedy; Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara; Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor; Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze; Deputy USIA Director Donald Wilson; Special Counsel Theodore Sorensen; Special Assistant McGeorge Bundy; Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon; Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (hidden); Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson; Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director William C. Foster; CIA Director John McCone (hidden); Under Secretary of State George Ball; Secretary of State Dean Rusk. White House, Cabinet Room. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for the image.

Crises that can seriously damage a reputation are happening more frequently than ever. In an age with fast Internet communications and a 24-hour new cycle, crises can spread like wildfire. While a crisis may not be able to be prevented, the first step to solving a crisis is being prepared. Some brands don’t have any plan about how they would solve a crisis. However, when things do go south, you’ll sure be glad you were one of the brands that did had an action plan. Here are five steps to solving a PR crisis:

Step 1: Be prepared

Many crises have warning signs. To catch the problem before it happens, analyze and identify potential crises your brand could have and how you would solve that. Research your industry’s previous problems in order to learn from your mistakes and note crisis communication trends.

Step 2: Change the Story

For a crisis that shows your brand negatively in the media, have a plan ready. Divert attention from the situation that puts your company in bad light and have media outlet prepared with someone who will let you correct the record. Finding the right reporter can be very beneficial to telling the story you want to be heard.

Step 3: Have a Spokesperson Ready

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is having contradictory information coming from multiple sources. The best thing during a crisis is to have one designated representative to inform the public and answer all questions. Your designated PR spokesperson should be well prepared about proper ways to speak in an interview and what the company’s key messages are.

Step 4: Internal and External Control

It is imperative that all company employees remain on the same page. Dispel any possible panic by communicating with workers and monitoring behavior. On the flip-side, it is also imperative to remain aware of what is being said externally about your brand. Monitar media and be the first to know about any negative coverage. Most importantly, remember to think carefully about what you will say to the media before you say it. In other words, do not blame, deny or point fingers.

Step 5: React Quickly

Respond to any crisis within 24 hours. If you respond after that time period, you are at a high risk for the story spreading across multiple social media channels. If you do not tell your side of the story at all, the media will use whatever information they can find and tell it for you. You should address the problem, show how you plan to fix it and prove that it will never happen again.

Overall, these tips are a solid foundation to ensuring that your brand will prevent and contain any PR crisis.


One thought on “How to Prep for a PR crisis

  1. I definitely agree with these steps with solve a PR crisis. It’s important to be proactive about the situation so the issue doesn’t get out of control and plan out the next steps on how to address it. Also, this can limit the potential for surprises down the road if you’re prepared. Reacting quickly is a good one too, because it’s better to deliver results and how you’re working to improve the situation and have satisfied consumers, rather than waiting too long.


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