Sometimes as a PR practitioner, you’re so concerned with campaigns and news releases that you forget about preparing for a crisis. When things hit the fan, some companies are at a loss for words and just can’t seem to get ahead of the crisis. That’s why it’s important to have a crisis communication plan in place in advance.
The most important thing about responding to a crisis is to be transparent with the public. Most of the time the public loses trust in the midst of a crisis, so transparency can gain that trust back. Make sure anything being put out to the media is well thought out and looked over by a second person. The public will be very sensitive with your brand after a crisis, so it’s important to take that into account.
Social media is a huge platform for people to voice their opinions for the world to see. The hard thing about being a PR practitioner is your inability to control what is said about your brand on social media. Social Media often goes nuts during a companies’ crisis. It’s also hard to keep up with social media posts because there aren’t normal business hours. It can be hard to stay ahead. But, it’s important to reply to as many posts as possible and try and make people feel better. You want to be careful of the tone you’re portraying in your responses because of the sensitivity following a crisis.
It’s important to get a response out to the media in a timely manner following a crisis. If possible, it’s a good idea to get a statement from executives or the CEO. This lets the public know you care. It’s also very important to have someone monitoring what’s being said in the media and on social media. These are direct responses from the public and they will tell you exactly how they feel. Use these responses to your advantage in your statement. People will express their concerns and you have a chance to ease those concerns.
After a crisis dies down and the storm settles, it’s important to evaluate your brand’s response. What could you have done differently? Document these things to look at in the future. Then you’ll have something for future employees to use as a reference if the current employees leave the team. It’s also a great idea to take notes of case studies in the news. Learn from other people’s mistakes and victories. Here is a great case study to take a look at for a total fail!