Most people have seen a company that has gone through a difficult time where its reputation was damaged in front of the public, but these kinds of mistakes tend to be forgotten over longer periods of time.
The worst thing that a company can do while going through a public relations crisis is developing another difficult situation in the middle of that crisis.
In fact, even a single message that is misunderstood can end up making the company’s stock decrease or damage the company’s reputation so badly that the company loses its customers.
This kind of situation can turn from a minimal public relations crisis that could have been solved in a couple of weeks to something that ends up haunting the company for years down the road.
In a worst-case scenario, a mistake that leads to the loss of trust from customers might result in the closing down of the company completely.
Fortunately, there are several things that companies can do to navigate crisis situations a lot better, and avoid making any costume mistakes.
For any sort of crisis management situation, the first thing that a company needs to have is a plan.
This plan will be prepared beforehand and is going to help the company navigate any sort of crisis situation in the future.
The plan is going to be created by the crisis management team, which is going to be made of people that are also going to create stock messages that the company can use during a time of crisis to respond to any queries from media outlets or the public.
Additionally, it’s also important to remember that companies need to have several stock responses at hand for different types of crisis situations that they might end up going through.
That means, companies need to have a plan for different types of crises including financial losses, the sudden exit of company leaders or even their death, scandals or lawsuits that cause both reputational and financial damage to the business, a slow down or halt in business operations, as well as any data breaches or losses.
Furthermore, with the help of a crisis management plan companies can also detail any potential problems they might fix in the future, and how to solve those potential problems so that they don’t develop into a full-blown crisis situation in the first place.
Another common mistake that companies make in terms of crisis management is taking too much time to give the public any sort of response to the crisis situation.
Fortunately, with the help of a crisis management plan, companies can quickly and easily have something prepared that they can show to the public and show customers that the business is taking responsibility for the crisis situation and has a plan that they can share on how it’s going to be resolving the issue at hand.
There have been a few situations of companies either completely ignoring the crisis they’re going through in front of the eyes of the public, or saying something that the public didn’t take in a positive manner, which ended up in the company’s stock price to decrease, and for the company to suffer for years to come.
With the help of response for different types of crisis situations, as well as a plan on how to handle different situations, as companies will have a lot easier time navigating crisis situations.
Common Crisis Management Issues
Having a crisis management plan in place is the first thing a company can do to defend itself from any potential threats to business operations or its reputation.
Aside from a plan, companies also have to be aware of some of the common issues that come up during crisis management so they can know how to avoid them better.
When a company needs to mitigate a crisis situation successfully, it needs to work with the right spokespeople.
The best kind of spokesperson for a company needs to be passionate about learning and knowing about the company and its solutions, and they have to be able to work to curate the company’s messages to the public and communicate well with the rest of the crisis communication team.
Additionally, they have to be comfortable working under pressure, even when facing difficult questions or queries from the public, and they have to be able to sync quickly and be flexible so they can adapt to the audience they’re communicating with.
The best public relations spokesperson for a crisis situation needs to be knowledgeable of the company, and its solutions, and undergo significant training so that they’ll be comfortable handling such situations in the future.
The response that a company creates for a crisis situation needs to be personalized for the stakeholders, which means that the company has to communicate with every person that’s being impacted by the situation.
One of the most important stakeholders for a company is its employees, which means companies have to provide their employees with constant guidance, feedback, as well as reassurance.
That means it’s important for companies to communicate with the employees quickly, and honestly, so they can mitigate the crisis situation a lot faster.
Furthermore, companies need to create a document that will clearly direct the employees during a time of crisis so that whenever any outlet or a journalist reaches out to one of the employees, they’ll know what to do.
It’s important to make any public statements that a company makes during a crisis situation as easy to understand as possible.
Any public statements that a company releases that have too much technical language or jargon will make the company sound like it’s out of touch.
That means companies have to explain everything that’s been happening clearly, as well as detail in simple terms how the company is planning to proceed with the situation moving forward. Furthermore, any statement that the company gives to the public also needs to be honest and believable.
With open, honest, and authentic statements, companies can earn back the trust they’ve lost from a crisis situation, and remind the target audience of the values the business stands for, and why they should be choosing to do business with the company in the first place.
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Virgo PR is a full-service digital marketing and digital PR agency that caters to clients in all industries. Paffmann has over a decade of experience in the public relations industry and has provided diverse media relations programs for brands and corporations across enterprise, software, eCommerce, technology, and consumer apps of all sizes. He has worked with clients including IBM, Genies, Glint, Rebel Ventures, AppAnnie, Owl Labs, car2go, Vkanesee, and more.