5 Ways to Handle a PR crisis
Public relations crisis is inevitable in any entrepreneurial venture. How you respond to a PR crisis as an entrepreneur is very important to the perception of your company in the public eye. With the advent of heavy social media usage, curbing the PR crisis is even more difficult because the crisis could go viral at any point. Having a plan to deal with the crisis can help you get out of a bad situation. This is why having a PR crisis management plan should be on the priority list for you as an entrepreneur.
Even big companies like Facebook or Uber have been struck with your nightmares. When Facebook was accused of data mining through illegal sources, they did not take the allegations seriously and their public image took a big hit. When Uber was also accused of giving customer information, Uber did nothing to respond to those claims thinking that the allegations would die down and stop. Both of these companies were faced with a brand image crisis by cutting open Facebook. Being ready to respond to such allegations and crises is very important for us and the entrepreneurial venture.
Here are a few things you can do during such situations:
Don’t Deflect Responsibility
During a PR crisis, you should completely own up to your mistake without deflecting responsibility. Trying to cover up a scandal will only result in further brand damage. Instead, owning up to the mistake and promising changes will strengthen your Brand Culture and your public image. Having a PR team to guide you through this is crucial. Listen to your PR managers during this time to craft a message that seems truthful and apologetic to avoid further backlash.
Use Social Media to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Crafting the right message and using the right platform at two to send a message across will help you during a public relations crisis. Having a dedicated social media team to craft a response and then gauge it is essential. Having your heart and soul in a well-crafted message will relate with your audience and a sincere apology will resonate with them. Incessant social media cribbing will not be appreciated by your audience. Trying to deflect blame using social media will cause a backlash. Sometimes social media is absolutely storming against you. You have to be ready and prepared for this backlash and use this backlash constructively while coming up with a plan.
A sincere apology is extremely crucial in a PR crisis. Just saying that you look into it is not going to cut it. Making promises and delivering on those promises will be the only thing that will restore your audiences’ trust in you. In this apology, you should try to go talk about all the policies that you will implement to rectify your mistakes so that your audience is assured that necessary steps will be taken. A heartfelt apology along with the plan of action is extremely crucial and it should be given at the earliest before the brand image takes a bigger hit. The social media team should be on high alert after this apology to see how the audiences are responding to it. The PR team is extremely crucial after the apology is made.
Take Adequate Action Towards Correcting Your Mistake
Having a reasoned approach to your action plan is very important. You should always take your time assessing the situation. Taking extremely reactive decisions will go against you and your brand. Consulting your team and your stakeholders is extremely important and you should always be on top of your PR game. Having an organisational culture that does not promote toxicity is important. You have to recognise where improvements and changes are necessary and implement policies that will rectify that. Having an already prepared crisis plan will always give you an edge.
Don’t Fuel the Fire
It is very easy to get swept by emotion especially when you see your brand’s image gets tarnished. Don’t engage with trolls and other anonymous people on social media. Don’t comment or post or tweet anything that has not been ratified by your social media and PR team. It is very difficult to see your company in a bad place but take a step back and don’t fuel the fire. Having emotional or frenzied responses or going completely silent will not be a good front for the company. Your external communication should be extremely reasoned and well-timed and should resonate with your audience.