Public relations can be used to effectively manage a crisis.
Most people will be able to remember when a brand or business has faced a crisis – it might be something like a product recall (there have been many instances where food or cars are recalled due to safety issues) or an employee/member of the public gets seriously hurt at the fault of the business (remember the awful roller coaster crash a few years back).
Almost certainly, a company’s crisis will play out in public. The media will often report on it and it’s likely it will be talked about all over social media. Or a crises can start on social media – perhaps a disgruntled former employee still has the company social media log ins. This has happened!
This is why public relations is needed to help manage it – and here are the main ways it can:
- Creating official statements / media responses: a PR person will be able to work with a company (its client) to create an official statement that outlines what is being done to resolve the crisis, along with any responses to the media. Communication is key and it is never advised to stay quiet when a crisis arises. A public relations specialist will help to refine the messages and ensure that the communication is direct and clear.
- Social media advice: the public relations team (if there isn’t someone handling the company’s social media) can help to inform the messages that are put out on social media – if a crisis hits a brand, then inevitably people will be talking about it online. It’s never ideal to muddy the water with lots of messages, so it is wise to make any official statement public (on the company’s website) and share it on social media. Anyone looking for information can also be directed to the statement.
- Media training: what is crucial is that any senior people within an organisation know what to say and how to say it, or how to avoid saying the wrong thing with unexpected questions, when dealing with media interviews. A PR team or specialist will be able to support a company with media training at any important time. Spokespeople represent the business and if the wrong thing is said, it can have a lasting impact.
- Issues and crisis planning and management: companies that have a lot of potential risks can hire a PR agency to develop an issues and crisis plan. Almost like a risk assessment, a plan will map out any possible issues, which can develop into crises, with guidance as to how it should be responded to and what channels should be used.
If you’d like to know any more about PR and crisis management and what we can do to help your business, please get in touch with us.