We often get asked by brands whether they should have a crisis management plan in place and the simple answer is yes.
A PR crisis is a negative story around your business or brand. It could be anything from a product recall, accident on the shop floor or even a natural disaster like a flood.
But, the negative story could have a big impact on your reputation and the value of your business.
Having a crisis plan isn’t as daunting as it may sound. Get the planning right and you’ll be able to deal with a crisis in a calm, professional manner.
Here are Motive PR’s tips for crisis management:
Agree a crisis team - this team will be the first port of call should an incident arise. Have a mix from across the business. Once you have the names, you’ll need a chain of command. So who is going to lead - it should be your CEO plus communications and legal. Think about who will approve comments and who will be put in front of the press.
Make sure the crisis team, in particular the CEO and main spokespeople have been through some good media training.
Create a plan for the crisis
Once a crisis hits, you need to be well planned. Have a checklist of what needs to be done, a list of the crisis team with all their contact details, any contacts who may be important - they could be journalists, influencers, or legal experts. Think about possible scenarios - some crisis scenarios can be planned for, others will take you completely by surprise.
Create a holding statement template
Think about any holding statements you can get out to press when a crisis hits. Have this approved and ready to go should your brand need them.
Channels & audiences
Think about the audiences you need to reach as part of your crisis communications and be clear about how you’ll reach them. If it’s customers, it may be through email, if it’s employees it may be through internal communications channels. Think too about the questions this audience may ask so you can frame your response appropriately.
How you communicate to the media will very much depend upon the severity and scale of the crisis. In most cases, a press statement will be enough, although never rule out your spokesperson being interviewed. In the most serious cases, a press conference may be the appropriate way to communicate.
During a crisis
Do be open, honest and transparent during a crisis. The sooner you communicate, the sooner your crisis will become yesterday’s news.
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