Crisis Communication Firm - Crisis management in PR

As a top crisis communication firm, PRLab works alongside you to train you in successfully developing a crisis communication strategy. We provide risk assessment, media training and help you execute and analyze your PR crisis response. We ensure you are prepared with the best PR crisis management plan, utilizing social media and pitching you to journalists to get your side of the story heard.

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Crisis Management in Public Relations

Crisis management strategies in public relations is a subspecialty of the public relations profession, its 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.

The nature of a crisis is its element of surprise and its disruption on your current system or processes. This is why the aim of PR in crisis management is to be prepared by having a plan ready in advance so you can quickly adapt to changing scenarios. Every crisis is unique so requires a tailored response, which is why preparation is key.

Today's era of digital communication has greatly impacted both how a crisis arises and how we can deal with it. Social media has created new ways or a crisis to emerge as information can quickly spread and go viral. However it also offers more ways in which a business can communicate with the public and manage the crisis. This makes it easier to do PR in a time of crisis and continue building trust with your audience.

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Not every issue is a Crisis - Difference between Crisis PR and Doing PR in times of crises

While public relations and crisis communication are strongly related, there is a distinction to be made between a PR crisis and doing PR in times of crisis. Firstly a PR crisis is an organization or individual receiving negative publicity that is damaging their reputation and causing a loss of trust from the public. There are three different types of crises you could be affected by.

The first is victim crisis, where the organization is perceived as the victim of the crisis and as such has little to no reputational threat. An accidental crisis requires more responsibility as these are scenarios where you are at fault but the incident is unintentional. Lastly, there are preventable crises in which an organization holds the utmost responsibility. These crises are deemed intentional and are a result of human error, rule violation or product and service harm.

Whereas these are scenarios that arise and affect you and your organization specifically, PR in times of crisis is slightly different. This is when you are affected by a more large scale crisis occurring globally or disrupting your industry. While these situations might not require the admission of responsibility or damage mitigation, it is essential to have a communication strategy ready should these scenarios arise. As a crisis PR agency, PRLab can help you develop strategies to be prepared for a public relations crisis.

PR crisis management, step by step

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Risk Assesment

The first step of crisis communication and public relations is to assess the risks to your business. You need to be prepared by conducting both an internal and external risk analysis, identifying weaknesses in your business. The weakest parts of your business model, weak spots in your sales funnel, what’s lacking in your team and missing from your investments are all examples of weaknesses.

It’s also important to identify threats to your business, which are the external factors that can negatively influence your business. For example your competitors, any negative market trends and rising prices of any resources you need to run your business.

These risks could be amplified when a crisis strikes. Create scenarios for each of these risks, how they could affect your business and what your hypothetical course of action will be should these scenarios come true.

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Defining Course of Action

After we have assessed the level of risk that a PR crisis represents for you or your organization, we will define a course of action. This is done by working closely with you to create a suitable plan that will structure the communication with your employees, the stakeholders, your customers, clients and the media. The better understanding we have of your business and the core values of your brand the better we can construct consistent messaging across all of your communication channels.

The most important thing in effective communications is staying relevant. As one of the best crisis management firms, we will help you identify what is important that your company can change, and what your company can contribute towards that will mitigate the effects of a crisis and position you in a positive way. This will be dependent on what type of crisis you find yourself in.

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Media Training

At PRLab we can help you and your team prepare an effective media response when a crisis occurs. Having a spokesperson training with the right skills to deal with the media is key to surviving a crisis. PR media training will teach you to have the right lines prepared, effective mannerisms, body language and other key skills necessary to be on the frontline of communication.

Having this person trained before a crisis unfolds is essential. PRLab also specializes in media training so can help you be prepared for being in the spotlight in both positive and negative situations. We will help you develop a concise and relevant soundbite that will communicate your core message, and the bridging techniques required to set up for this soundbite and avoid difficult questions. Our training methods are very effective and we will identify key messages and practice through role-play so you are confident in delivering your message.

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Issues Management

As well as preparing you for media attention, we will help you to contact journalists yourself. You may ask why you would want to go public in a time of crisis, and the answer is because the story is going to come out either way. If you take initiative, you get to take some control over the narrative and tell your side of the story.

We work together with your team to identify who we need to speak to and what channels we use to communicate the planned response. Part of this is the journalists who will publish your response to the crisis, but it also involves the internal communication with your team and stakeholders that is necessary to keep everyone updated to avoid panic and the spread of misinformation.

Our integrated PR approach here is invaluable, as we are experts in social media campaigns and creating messages that can relay the core values of your business. Communicating during a crisis is not the time to make a sales pitch, and we can ensure your messages are respectful and appropriate.

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We execute the strategy

As well as developing a crisis communication strategy, we can help you execute it should a crisis become reality. We can target key publications that can tell your side of the story and communicate key information to help reduce the impact of a PR crisis. We do this by pitching to journalists.

As an established crisis PR agency we have built an extensive network of relationships with journalists in order to get our clients featured in the media. We ensure that your media training goes to good use, and your soundbites end up in all the right places. We work closely with you as the PR crisis unfolds to help you adapt to the evolving situation and you continue to follow the best public relations crisis strategy.

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Analysis

A benefit of working with PRLab is that we are a top crisis management firm, and our services continue after the crisis has occurred in order to continue improving your crisis communication strategy. This is because we conduct a post-crisis analysis. We assess how the crisis arose, what went wrong and what could be done in the future to avoid this happening again.

We also look at the effectiveness of the crisis communication plan, assessing what worked and what didn’t. You may find that what you had planned is not how it unfolded in real life and you had to improvise. Based on this we develop your strategy for the future so your business can become more resilient to unexpected crises as they evolve.

We can also work together to assess the response from your competitor’s response to a public relations crisis, understanding how and why they were similarly affected and how effective their response was.

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FAQs

Crisis management strategies in public relations focus on two areas. The first is the management of a PR crisis, where your business is specifically affected. In this scenario, crisis management involves being prepared for dealing with the media when something goes wrong, for example, a product return, or a scandal within your organization.

Crisis management in PR also means how you communicate with your consumers and clients during a time of crisis. These are more large scale situations that have a widespread effect on your industry. Although you may not have to be protecting your reputation as much in this case, people experience greater uncertainty and less trust in a crisis, so adjusting your communication to empathise with your audience is essential.

PR is very important during a time of crisis. This is because PR is about the management of communication between you and the public. During a time of crisis, communication is key in reducing the impact of a crisis on your reputation and therefore your revenue, customer acquisition and customer loyalty.

In order to effectively communicate and maintain a level of trust between you and your audience you need PR. As an experienced PR crisis company, PRLab offers a range of services that can be used to prepare for and deal with a crisis. We can help you plan an effective content marketing strategy and social media strategy that can communicate your response to a crisis.

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, and respond to the media in a manner that will reduce the effects of a crisis and communicate your brand’s value.

The first thing you do in a PR crisis is promptly address both your team and the public upon your discovery of the 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 crisis. The situations when you can deny a crisis is when you are sure the accusations are false.

There are other strategies to take in a PR crisis, one of which is the diminishment strategy. Here instead of denying all faults you 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 of a PR crisis, there is the rebuilding strategy, which is taking efforts to redeem an organization’s reputation, usually in the form of an apology or compensation.

These strategies can be supplemented by bolstering your positive image by presenting your audience with new positive information about your organization or reminding them of your previous achievements. These are all strategies that you should have a response prepared in advance.

The truth is sometimes a PR crisis 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 follow several principles to avoid escalating a situation.

Firstly if a 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 a bad PR crisis by building strong roots. This means building good relationships with your employees, partners and clients and earning their trust. By having a good reputation prior to a crisis you lessen the effects when it does strike. You can collaborate with PRLab to build an effective PR strategy for crisis management that will bolster this trust with all the aforementioned parties. We can also help you develop a social media policy that will guide how you behave online and will protect your reputation.

PR specialists have many roles when it comes to running a crisis communication firm. Firstly is assess the situation before using our expertise to offer advice and guidance on your strategy for communication. This is best done with an understanding of the company’s background and the context of the PR crisis.

Public relations will also help to manage the press and media attention during a crisis. As a PR crisis company, 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 crisis. 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 your PR crisis by creating a marketing strategy that focuses on other positive achievements of your brand.

Having a dedicated team for crisis management public relations is incredibly important. It is essential this team is built and trained before a crisis strikes to properly deal with it, and as a top crisis communications firm this is something PRLab can help you with. We can help your team develop PR strategies for crisis management that will assess the risks of a crisis, and tailor a response that will accommodate weaknesses specific to your organization.

Once this strategy is developed we can help you to execute it should the need arise. We will assist you in having consistent and relevant communication across all your channels both internally and externally. We can help you reach the necessary publications to tell your side of the story and provide media training to your team to ensure a PR crisis is handled correctly.

Whether you have a PR crisis on your hands or need to do PR in a time of crisis, we know the best strategies to prepare for a crisis, react to one as it evolves, and to analyze it and learn from it afterwards. Whether you need help preparing for a crisis or you are already experiencing one, we can help you so get in touch today.