As a business owner, you always have to be prepared for the worst. What’s the saying—hope for the best, but prepare for the worst?
In the unfortunate event that you find your company smack-dab in the center of a PR crisis, you need to already have a plan in place for how you’re going to respond and minimize the damage. Because if you don’t have a crisis communications plan, the media will be like sharks, smelling the blood in the water and preparing to sink their teeth into you.
So, how should you respond when you’re facing a PR crisis?
- Designate your company’s crisis management team—Who is going to respond when crisis hits? Who will be your company’s spokesperson? Who will be in charge of gathering the facts and developing a response strategy? You need to spend time thinking about the different types of crisis scenarios your company could wind up facing, and designate a team that makes sense to handle the issues.
- Get the facts—You can’t respond to a crisis without first knowing all the facts. If you respond without truly understanding the situation, you’ll make mistakes and make the situation worse. Take some time to gather the Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How details of the situation before crafting your response.
- Prepare your main message—Come up with some key bullet points of your response. Keep it concise, and make sure it is accurate. You don’t want to sound like a robot when you make your statement or interact with the media, but you do want to make sure you know your message and stay on point.
- Respond quickly—The longer you wait to respond, the worse things will get. You can’t hide your head in the sand and expect the problem to disappear; it will only escalate. Act quickly so you can manage the situation and try to keep it from getting out of control.
- Don’t lie to the media—Under no circumstances should you lie to the media. The truth ALWAYS comes out, and if you’re found out to be a liar, you may not be able to recover.
Have you ever faced a serious PR crisis? How did you respond? Share your best tips by commenting below.