Crisis management in public relations is a subspecialty of the public relations profession.
Their purpose is to protect and defend an individual, company or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation. Although this is a small aspect of what modern PR agencies do, it is still a very important one, particularly given the vulnerable position of startups compared to companies with established reputations.
PR in crisis management focuses on two areas. The first involves implementing management strategies within your business. In this area, the purpose of PR should prepare you for dealing with the media when something goes wrong, for example, a product return or a scandal within your organization.
PR in crisis management also outlines how you will communicate with your consumers and clients when an unexpected scenario arises. These are situations that occur on a larger scale that have a widespread effect on your industry. Although these situations may not require the protection of your individual reputation quite as much, people may experience greater uncertainty and less trust, so adjusting your communication to empathise with your audience is essential.
Public relations and crisis management are very closely related. This is because PR will outline effective communication between you and the public. During a time of crisis, communication is key in reducing the uncertainty that may be surrounding your reputation and therefore impacting your revenue, customer acquisition and customer loyalty.
A PR crisis management plan is necessary in order to effectively communicate and maintain a level of trust between you and your audience. As an experienced PR crisis communications agency, PRLab offers a range of services that can be used to prepare for and actively deal with any unexpected situation. We can help you plan an effective content marketing and social media strategy, through which you can implement your prepared response.
We can also provide the media training necessary to teach your team the skills required to respond internally, keeping everyone calm and informed, and externally, ensuring that your team responds to the media in a manner that will reduce the effects of a public relations crisis* and communicate your brand’s value.
The first thing you should dois to implement your PR in crisis management plan immediately, promptly addressing both your team and the public upon your discovery of the PR crisis. Being open and honest is the best policy, as it demonstrates good values that will be associated with your brand. Mistakes do happen, and it is better to admit to them and work on improvement than deny the existence of a situation. The situations in which you can deny a crisis* is when you are certain the accusations are false.
There are other strategies you can implement to manage a PR crisis, one of which being the diminishment strategy. In this crisis management strategy, instead of denying all faults, you can try to minimize the degree of responsibility on the organization. This only works when it is plausible to deny some of the responsibility. In situations where you cannot deny or diminish the events in question, there is the rebuilding strategy, in which you can make efforts to mend an organization’s reputation, usually in the form of an apology or compensation.
These strategies can be supplemented by bolstering your positive image, presenting your audience with new positive information about your organization or reminding them of your previous achievements.
In all of the above PR crisis management strategies, you should have a response prepared in advance. It is a good idea to recruit a crisis communication firm to assist you in devising a plan that involves careful consideration every step of the way.
The truth is that sometimes, problems cannot be avoided. Accidents happen, you make mistakes, and events occur outside of your control. What you can do is to be certain you have a strategy ready to deal with a PR crisis* should it arise, and ensure that you follow several principles to avoid escalating a situation.
Firstly, if a public relations crisis is happening, it is essential to communicate with your team, being as honest and calm as possible to avoid panic and the spread of misinformation. Working with a crisis communication firm such as PRLab can be invaluable in mitigating the damaging effects of a PR crisis.
You can try to avoid controversy preemptively by building strong roots. This means building good relationships with and earning the trust of your employees, partners, and clients. By having an established positive reputation, you can lessen the negative effects of unexpected situations when they do happen. You can collaborate with PRLab to build an effective public relations and crisis management strategy that will bolster this trust with all the aforementioned parties. We can also help you to develop a social media policy that will guide how you behave online in a way that will protect your reputation.
PR specialists have many responsibilities when it comes to running a crisis communication firm. First is to conduct a full assessment of the situation before using our expertise to offer advice and guidance on your PR crisis management plan. This is best done following the steps necessary to gain an understanding of the company’s background and the context of the situation.
Public relations in crisis management will also help to manage the press and media attention during these tricky situations. As a PR crisis communication agency, PRLab will help you to craft statements and train you and your team so they can interact with the media and give good interviews that will help with the reputation of your company and ensure the continued loyalty of your customers and investors.
It is also the role of PR to provide ongoing support after the situation has blown over. Part of this means analyzing the effectiveness of your PR crisis strategy, looking at what worked and what could be improved upon in the future. PR can also help to direct attention away from the PR crisis by creating a marketing strategy that focuses on the other positive achievements of your brand.