Being able to work with a brand means you must be able to manage any potential PR crisis that might come along. These are moments when cooler heads absolutely must prevail. Thankfully, there are several things a person can do to navigate the tricky waters of a PR disaster.
Crisis Communication In 10 Steps
Staying cool, calm, and aware of your surroundings is the key thing to remember about any PR crisis that comes your way. Beyond that, handling crisis communication comes down 10 simple steps:
1. Keep calm. This has already been mentioned, but the importance of not panicking cannot be understated. You make better choices when you’re calm. Your team remains calm when you’re calm. See a pattern? Stay calm.
2. Let everyone know what’s going on. When a news story threatens the public perception (or more) of your brand, you need to bring everyone to speed. This includes the social media team, other members of the PR department, the customer service department, and anyone else who is relevant to the situation. Instruct them on how to respond to any external inquiries, and tell them to keep you informed of any further developments that come up on their end.
3. Launch an investigation. Find out what happened, correlate that with what the public believes has happened and their reactions, and which aspects of the situation demand instant attention.
4. Take a moment. Take some time to appreciate the implications of your response on the future of the business.
5. Monitor data. Grasp the severity of the situation through careful monitoring of the public and media’s response. This will tell you how large the issue is, how many people are paying attention, whether their response is good or bad, and how the media is responding.
6. Understand the severity. Once you understand the situation in terms of its seriousness and public perception, you can begin to craft the company’s response.
7. Approach your delivery channels. Consider the best ways for your company to respond to the crisis. This can include individual or mass social updates, individualized phone/email inquiries, a mass email to clients/subscribers, a post on the company blog, or an old-school press release.
8. Make a decision. Decide on your delivery channels and send out your message.
9. Keep paying attention. Watch the reception to your response on the chosen delivery channels. Move as the crisis moves. If it gets worse, look at ways you can change your initial strategy.
10. Take lessons away from the situation. Learn from the process you put to work.
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