Any organization at one point may be faced with some public relations concerns. The way you respond to such a situation may give your company a much-needed image boost or, on the other hand, could substantially damage your brand. A damaged reputation threatens to alienate your customers, business partners and stakeholders, so preparing to handle negative PR effectively is important.
Once a crisis hits, you may be flooded with numerous requests for information. To convince the public that you are in charge of the situation, you require a plan. The communication plan will be vital in this situation. Your public communications, whether through social media or press interviews, are critical to managing a negative PR explosion.
According to B Plans, your crisis plan will have a checklist of key items to address. The list will prevent missing steps when people are panicking. The crisis plan will also include contacts of key people. For instance, the head of public relations may be on holiday; this plan will outline the course of action. The plan will also provide a list of people to call, such as journalists, experts and influencers.
When dealing with a crisis, it is crucial to learn from other organizations. From the history of other organizations, an obvious cover-up will only worsen the situation and damage your brand. For instance, in the wake of the Catholic sex scandal, denial and cover-ups served to fuel the heat against the church. Acknowledging people’s concerns and responding to questions would steer the conversation in the right direction. According to WB & T, the Catholic Church has created a Statute of Limitations regarding the clergy sexual abuse scandal, which gives victims better opportunities for justice and will hold clergy members more accountable for their actions.
In today’s world, social media has increased the number of critics. Because of this, reputation management matters perhaps more than ever before. Credibility can be lost in an instant if businesses appear dishonest when responding to a crisis. The most crucial move in dealing with any situation is to be proactive, transparent with facts and accountable.
Negative PR is sometimes inevitable for a business. However, there are a number of ways for companies to respond to negative PR, and authenticity and accountability are highly valued by modern consumers. Any crisis plan should include key elements as well as a plan to change the narrative and get ahead of the story.
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