April 21, 2021
Frequently Underestimated Crisis Communication Efforts
Most PR professionals frequently discuss the importance of crisis management plans and crisis management teams, which are crucial when it comes to handling a negative situation.
However, there are several crisis communications efforts that are less popular compared to these, that are just as useful, if not more.
Business leaders that are able to remain patient and calm during a PR crisis are able to navigate these types of situations far better, as they’re able to provide confidence to the internal team.
There are plenty of PR crisis situations that result in business leaders or management personnel that get stressed out and in a panic because at some point they realize the company or their own careers are at risk. When that does happen, it usually leads to poor decision-making.
Although there are high stakes and a lot of pressure during a crisis situation regarding making decisions, it’s essential that business leaders stay calm and fight the feelings of panic, to be able to make better decisions and mitigate the situation.
Having a crisis communications plan, that details various scenarios of potential PR crises as well as possible responses to those situations is a key element in crisis communications. Being prepared ahead of time means the company will be able to navigate the negative situation far better compared to businesses that aren’t prepared. However, being flexible with the crisis communications plan is just as important, as, in today’s fast-paced digital environment, it’s far too easy for situations to shift at a moment’s notice.
For example, if any misleading information is shared on social media platforms, the detailed and approved response strategy can quickly become irrelevant. In those cases, companies have to quickly shift gears and create a brand new crisis PR team of analytical professionals who are adaptable to create a new strategy on how to move forward without any further damage to the company’s reputation.
There is a fine balance between a fast response and transparency during a PR crisis. On one hand, the company has to wait while all of the facts are gathered and checked for accuracy, but on the other hand, there is the pressure to release any kind of statement before the situation gets out of control.
Therefore, the crisis communications team should double or triple check every piece of received information and make sure it’s completely accurate before it can be released to the public. Otherwise, if a company releases any inaccurate information, its reputation can be further damaged, and perhaps never recover, as the organization will be deemed incompetent.
Finally, during a crisis situation, especially in this digital era, there are far too many false news stories that are shared at a lightning speed within the public. To combat any potential misinformation during a PR crisis, companies should have a specialized team, and utilizing social listening tools to easily monitor all media coverage and public statements both about the company and about the situation.
Inaccurate information must be corrected at all times, as otherwise, it’s going to continue to damage the company’s reputation in the long term, well after the crisis is over. Whenever any misinformation appears, the team in charge of social listening should contact the media outlet and correct the information as soon as possible.