Bad news has always traveled fast, but these days, it takes only a single social media post or news report to destroy a business’s hard-won reputation.
Just like companies need business continuity plans to protect against disruption, they need a public relations strategy to weather incidents that can cause their reputation to take a substantial and long-lasting hit. By having these plans in place before the inevitable occurs, businesses can save valuable time and address any negativity as soon as possible to limit its enduring effects. One of the most critical of these public relations strategies is an effective communication plan.
Three Tips for Better Communications During a Business Crisis
Create a dedicated communication team and a preferred method of communication before disaster strikes. Take the opportunity to identify current employees who are familiar with crisis communication. This core group will serve as the go-to lead during any future PR crisis and should receive up-to-date crisis management training. In addition, these individuals will be responsible for identifying potential PR risks and preparing template statements covering these scenarios. Once you have a prepared crisis communication team in place and ready-to-go statements, your business can quickly respond confidently with pre-approved communications and avoid appearing less than transparent. Don’t neglect to determine how your staff will distribute its statements effectively since the ability to release information quickly often gains an advantage by allowing your business to control the narrative going forward.
Shape your message to a specific audience. While you may need to address employees, stakeholders, customers, and the public concerning depending on the scope of the situation, you should not use the same language and level of transparency for each group.
- When providing information to your employees, focus on stopping rumors and preventing fear. Be honest, but reinforce the idea that all information should remain within the company.
- Likewise, when you discuss the problem with stakeholders, be transparent and provide full details, especially if the fallout can have legal or financial consequences.
- Be proactive when reaching out to your customers. If the crisis will directly affect the customers, such as delaying delivery or preventing the completion of a project, inform them immediately and suggest possible paths of remediation moving forward.
- In the case of potential danger to the public, work with community services to ensure people are safe. If there is no danger, stick with the relevant facts, how your business will resolve the issue, and make any apologies necessary
Express what will happen, and avoid lamenting what did or didn’t occur. In the midst of an ongoing company crisis, it does not benefit your business to debate the cause or to place blame. Your goal needs to be on getting through the situation with the least amount of damage to yourself while supporting anyone negatively affected. Once the crisis has passed and outside interest has waned, there will be plenty of time to sort out who is responsible.
Even the best-prepared business needs help when dealing with the aftermath of a PR crisis. The team at NetReputation are online reputation management experts and use a tried-and-true profile defenders strategy for helping companies recover after bad press. But why wait until disaster strikes to protect your online image? Call 844-461-3632 to find out how NetReputation can help save your company from a PR nightmare.