I ask myself everyday why did I fall in love with a profession that most businesses take for granted, some executives think hairy fairy and others don’t really understand what the hell it is about but are the first to scream, “We Need PR!” in a crisis.
It is amazing that the stone that the builder refused becomes the chief corner stone when things hits the fan, and an executive’s or company’s reputation is on the line. Companies that use the public relations function effectively can usually avert an out of control issue from becoming a crisis. But once your issue becomes a crisis, public relations done well will enable you to clean up the mess palatably. There are a number of tactics that should be used but here are 3 PR strategies to employ during a crisis.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
People tend to become tight-lipped during a crisis, but this is the time when all those relationships you built-up through your public relations strategy should be working for you. Communicating with your stakeholders is important for building their understanding, tolerance, and trust. You may even come out of the crisis with new advocates, flipping the issue to a leadership position, once your communication is handled well.
2. Be responsible and caring
There is nothing more irritating than arrogance and ignorance. You must take responsibility for your actions and act with care for your stakeholders and the environment. Safety should always be a priority, and you must act to protect your reputation but in a socially responsible way.
3. Speak with one voice
Your message must be authentic. It cannot be, if different persons within the organisation are communicating different messages. There should be a crisis team that is briefed, and the designated spokespersons should be speaking the same message. What you say as well as your actions are very important at this time and will be open to interpretation. You do not want to convey the wrong message to prolong the crisis period and escalate the damage done to your reputation.
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