5 Strategies to Help You Get Through a PR Crisis

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren Buffet

It’s inevitable that your brand (regardless of the industry) will face a PR crisis at some point, and the way you handle a crisis situation can have a much bigger impact on your brand’s reputation than the crisis itself. If a crisis is handled poorly, it can hurt the trust you’ve built with your long-standing and loyal customers, which will then have a negative impact on your bottom line. With social media able to disseminate information in just seconds, news is traveling faster than ever before, so it’s important that you are prepared to respond quickly and efficiently.Here are five actions for addressing and handling a PR crisis:

Gather The Facts and Identify Your Spokesperson
Once you determine you have a crisis on your hands, or even a potential crisis, go and hunt down the facts. Don’t forget to share information you discover with all parties involved so that everyone is aligned. As the crisis unfolds, stay up to date on the facts and be transparent with the media about unknowns. When determining your spokesperson, ensure it is someone in the most appropriate position with the right skills and media training.

Respond Timely and Accurately
If the news is already circulating in the public, it’s important to respond quickly to control the narrative. To buy yourself more time, you can put together a holding statement to address that you are aware of the situation and are working to gather all the information. Your official statement should recognize all the known facts of the crisis and reassure the media that you will keep them updated as more details come to light.

Be Transparent and Communicative
When asked specific questions by the media, it’s important to be transparent about the situation and stay away from answering “no comment,” as this can imply guilt. During a crisis, you will receive many emails and phone calls with media inquiries, and it’s important to acknowledge each request not only out of respect for the journalists but to control the story around the crisis.

Align Internal and External Messaging
To maintain trust with your employees, ensure your public statements align with the information you are sharing internally. Inform your internal team first of any new information that arises before sharing it with the media. There is nothing worse than employees feeling unappreciated and out-of-the-loop because they learned about the situation through the news and not their leaders.

Monitor The News and Social Media
Utilize social media to monitor before, during, and after the crisis. Keeping a close eye on conversation surrounding your brand can help spot crises early on and give you a sense of the sentiment around your brand and what could be coming next. The same goes for media monitoring – it gives you an idea of the reach of your story and the sentiment around it.

If and when you encounter a PR crisis, use it as an opportunity to learn and apply those insights to better your organization. You must be prepared and equipped to handle a PR crisis, especially in the unpredictable world we live in today, and OH is here to help.

About the Author: Ashley Bold is a Public Relations Account Executive at OH Partners and has helped increase awareness for organizations in the gaming, entertainment, hospitality, travel & tourism, and nonprofit industries. She has garnered local and national media coverage for clients, executed successful influencer campaigns and has experience with crisis and corporate communications. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Communication from Arizona State University.

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