Did you know that today marks the beginning of ice-cream month? To celebrate this, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to stay chill in a PR crisis.
Crisis situations are something that no business ever wants to face. With the evolution of digital technology and the popularisation of social media, crisis situations are becoming more and more unpredictable. Social media can exacerbate a crisis and create a negative internet legacy for your business if you handle the situation poorly. Here at MediaHQ, we want you to make the news, but for the right reasons! Take a look at our PR crisis preparedness tips below so you don’t have a meltdown if you find your business facing a crisis.
Don’t react immediately
Upon discovering a crisis situation, especially on social media, one of the first and most important things you should do is take a step back and take a minute to gather your thoughts. Oftentimes, in crisis situations, we can react emotionally. This can add fuel to the fire, so be sure to take a minute to collect yourself and understand the gravity of the situation.
Take a breath. Don’t manifest a negative outcome. Believe in yourself and have confidence in your ability to manage the task at hand. Compose yourself and find the root cause of the crisis and calculate your actions from there with integrity.
What type of crisis is it?
It’s important to start by discerning the type of crisis your organisation is facing so you can calculate your next steps and how to engage with your customers. You need to ask yourself a few questions. Is your organisation is the victim in the crisis as a result of external forces? Did your organisation do something wrong to spark a crisis? Is the crisis being caused by a faulty product or service? It is important to identify the crisis situation you are being faced with so you can gauge the appropriate remediation approaches, methods of customer engagement, and post-crisis approaches to resolve the situation and prevent your organisation from suffering irreversible reputational damage or the loss of key stakeholders.
Then, when you have identified the root cause and the crisis type, you can begin to contain the crisis and inform your customers as to what is going on.
Crack open your crisis preparedness plan and take action
Every organisation should have one of these. A crisis preparedness plan should be mutable to serve a variety of crisis situations. This should include prepared social media statements or press releases which can be amended to serve the crisis at hand. Gather your crisis communications team and your designated spokespersons and brief them in everything they need to know regarding the crisis. Even if the crisis was completely unprecedented, your crisis preparedness plan should be flexible to resolve the situation.
Don’t neglect your stakeholders
Your customers should always be a priority in a crisis. Do not deprive your stakeholders or customers of any information during a crisis situation. By doing so, this could cause rumours to emerge as customers create their own perspective on the situation. This could exacerbate the situation and cause even more damage than you might have originally anticipated. Ensure to task a member of your team to monitor social media sentiment and gauge the best responses based on stakeholders reactions. Be sure to have a dedicated and seasoned spokesperson who is equipped to deal with the leverage of the situation.
Make sure that you are doing continuous research as the crisis situation is unfolding. There’s nothing worse than issuing an ill-informed statement online which could lead to widespread pandemonium.
Teamwork makes the dream work
This was briefly mentioned above. Be sure before any crisis situation hits to brief all members on their particular role. This way, if ever a crisis was to hit, they can quickly jump in and assume their delegated responsibilities to contain the situation. This way, all your crisis remediation approaches should work more efficiently and all team members can work confidently to resolve the issue.
Being prepared for a crisis is vital to mitigate damage to your reputation, stakeholder relations, and revenue and prevent litigation and decrease in brand value.
As we said before, customers should be the number one priority in a crisis situation. Your customers are imperative to the survival of your business, so it is important to prioritise their safety and concerns in a situation as such. This can be easily achieved through a two-way multi-channel customer service approach. Any customers affected by the crisis should be offered some form of compensation where the organisation deems fit. Social media can be a useful tool in a situation like this to gauge the sentiment of customers. You could also use your social media channels to link to a customer complaint form via channels/website so you can later collate data regarding the crisis to update your crisis preparedness plan and to rectify any existing or any prospective issues further down the line.
The after party, what have you learned
Following a crisis, it is important to identify what could have been done differently to ensure that the situation doesn’t repeat itself. Get your team together to compile research from the situation so you can incorporate it into your crisis communications plans for future reference, or to ensure a situation as such does not repeat itself.
Here at MediaHQ, we strive to take the grunt work out of PR. We pride ourselves in always looking out for our clients in any situation, even a PR disaster. Looking for more information click here or call Gaye on (01) 2541845 to find out more.