Communication during a crisis is quickly becoming one of the major functions of a well run public relations department. Companies are now realising that they need to proactive rather than reactive, how a company survives after suffering a crisis will usually depend on how well it responds to the issues in hand.
When a crisis does take place the PR team need to be ready to jump in to action with a targeted, quick response that will not only address all of the major issues but also throw water on the flames and diffuse the crisis. Trying to coverup the situation is a big mistake, rather than adding water to the flames this will only serve to fan them. Companies such as Broadgate Mainland have become industry leaders for PR crisis management, employing the most modern techniques and helping graduates adapt to the PR world.
Here are six excellent tips to help any company respond to a potential PR catastrophe:
You need to make sure that your message is going out to the right people, targeting the right audience will make all the difference. If you are targeting the wrong audience then you are simply wasting your time.
Always be quick
If you have a prompt response then it is giving out a clear message that the company is taking the issue very seriously and is trying to address it at an early stage. The other benefit is that can also quell a potentially negative situation from going out of control, you can do this by being open and honest with all the facts from the outset.
Be short but informative
If you are trying to convey a message during a time of crisis then should always be concise but comprehensive. You need to ensure that you are giving a lot of valuable information in a very short time frame.
Transparency is key and will help you in the long run. I think being honest with every piece of information you provide is probably the time when it matters to the company most. You need to first earn trust and then build it, once you have the trust of your audience you will be able to make your way through the crisis.
Always be clear
You need to be very clear about what the company is doing about the crisis and always keep people informed of the actions that are being taken. You should also, where possible, try to give a realistic time scale of when you think the work will be complete – try to be as honest as possible about the time frame and and ever be ambitious with it.
You need to understand that there will be some very strong feelings out there, so you always need to show a compassionate front. It doesn’t matter where the problem started, you as the management need to acknowledge that there was a fault and tell people the steps you are putting in place to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.