By Alan Graner
Prepare for a crisis
- Identify who will be on your crisis team
- Identify who will speak for your company
- Train your spokespeople
- Establish communications protocols
- Identify what constitutes a crisis
10 Steps to Prepare Your Company for Crisis
Write an actionable crisis plan
- Concentrate on strategies and tactics, not minutiae
- Divide your plan in 3: preparation, response, recovery
- Create one-page bulleted checklists for each phase
- Write the plan electronically and encrypted, not on paper
- Ensure everyone understands the plan
- Update constantly
Crisis Communications: 10 tips to write a practical actionable plan
Manage the crisis
- Circle the wagons. Tell your team what happened, how you will react, how they should communicate with the public.
- Investigate. Don’t react until you get the full story and know exactly what happened.
- Listen to how customers, the public and media are reacting to determine just how big the crisis is.
- Determine your position and messaging.
- Monitor reaction and react as needed.
10 Steps to Managing a PR Crisis
Get ahead of the story
- Take responsibility
- Address the situation quickly and directly
- Prepare information in advance
- Control the messaging
Get Ahead of a Story During a PR Crisis
Handle the crisis gracefully
- Show sympathy. Let your customers know you understand their frustration and disappointment.
- Explain how you will change. Let them know rectifying the problem is your top priority.
- Reinforce your values. Reassure them this one mistake will not compromise your core values.
3 Foolproof Steps to Manage Any Social Media Crisis
- Publish a neutral statement stating you’re aware of the crisis and are investigating it.
- Don’t engage in any social media conversations until you’ve developed a clear message.
- Keep the public informed after your investigation.
- Follow through on your promises to maintain your credibility
How to Gracefully Handle an Online PR Crisis
How to apologize
- Issue an apology quickly
- Be sincere. Don’t deny the problem
- Take personal responsibility
- Speak plainly and forthrightly
- Explain exactly what happened (if warranted)
How to say “I’m sorry” and make it stick
- You’ll suffer in the short term
- If you don’t speak, others will
- Saying “no comment” is the same as saying “we’re guilty.”
- Make your response about the victims
- Get it all out as quickly as possible so you don’t die by 1,000 cuts
Seven Rules to Remember When a Crisis Strikes
What would you add?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.