To Survive a Crisis, You Need More Than Just a Plan
When a PR crisis strikes, it comes in hot and ready to take your business down with it. Even the greatest of planners will need more than a multi-page document to survive a media firestorm. And if you’re in denial that a crisis could ever happen to your organization, it’s time to wake up, get prepared, and expect the unexpected. Check out our top strategies to help you bounce back from any PR crisis that may come your way.
Obviously, planning is essential to effective crisis management. This does not mean immediately knowing the perfect solution to every issue (which is nearly impossible), but rather having a living, breathing document to guide you during a potential crisis. The plan should detail team roles, how decisions will be made, and answer how you will respond to commonly asked questions during a crisis. The plan should be updated at least every year, or whenever there is a change in leadership or policy within your company.
Besides creating a plan, there are other crucial steps you need to take to survive a crisis. Communicating the right messages (and not creating another crisis through your response), connecting with the right experts, and learning from previous mistakes can help set your company up to be more resilient when future crises emerge.
Have a crisis team on standby
You need a variety of experts to have all your bases covered and come out on the other side of the crisis successfully. Here’s a list of roles to include on your crisis management team:
- Key executives
- PR/Communications directors
- Department leaders (when relevant)
- Social media managers
- Legal experts
Apologize and admit wrongdoing if needed
You have to acknowledge a problem before you can fix it. Admitting fault during a crisis is often not only essential but necessary. There is no way to restore confidence in your customers if they do not feel you understand where your company went wrong. Display accountability, empathy and willingness to do better to restore consumer’s trust in your brand. Consult with your legal team, however, before ever taking responsibility in writing or during an interview.
Craft your message carefully
Communication during a crisis means finding a happy medium between responding quickly and responding with a genuine message that does not miss the mark (again!). Reacting to a crisis requires careful planning and multiple layers of approval to ensure the message addresses audiences’ concerns and questions.
Monitor social media conversations
#CancelCulture is more relevant now than ever before. Social media crises should be taken just as seriously as in-person crises. These online crises can spread like wildfire and negatively frame the narrative of your company in an instant. Therefore, it’s critical to have team members in place to monitor and respond to conversations taking place on social media.
Gather consumer feedback
As important as the management of a crisis is, equally important is learning from your mistakes and gathering feedback to ensure a better response in the future. Gathering feedback from consumers can mean listening to social media conversations, interacting with your customers, and understanding how to handle complaints. Through these conversations, you can gauge sentiment around your crisis response and determine better ways to respond in the future.
Planning for a crisis is simply the first step to setting your company up for a successful recovery. Every crisis is stressful, but your company can feel more confident about its response and recovery by going above and beyond just planning. If you feel in over your head, turn to the experts at On The Marc Media to help you manage the situation and ensure your company bounces back as quickly as possible. Contact us today for a crisis management consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.