No one likes to imagine that their business could come under fire in the public eye. If your company is like many, you may not have a plan in place for responding to a public relations crisis. In fact, you may believe you don’t really need such a plan. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
Have you convinced yourself of any of these crisis communication myths?
- A crisis could never happen to my business.
Never say never! Despite your best intentions, accidents and mistakes do occur. And even if a single misstep never happens, false allegations could also create a crisis situation.
Planning in advance for the possibility of crisis enables you to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively should one occur.
- I’ll just say “no comment” until it blows over.
During a crisis, few thingsare more damaging to your business’s reputation than burying your head in the sand. It’s important that the community sees you acknowledging the issue and taking steps to address it.
That said, off-the-cuff interviews with reporters or rambling debates on social mediawill also undermine your crisis management goals. Before speaking publically, determine what your message should be and how it should be disseminated.
Having a clearly defined crisis communication plan in place helps prepare you for these steps.
- I can handle it when/if it happens.
“Winging it” doesn’t work during a crisis. Your communication strategy must be in place before it is needed.
What types of red-flag situations should an employee report so that a crisis is handled immediately (and do you have a corporate culture that promotes an open line of communication between workers and managers)? Who will speak on behalf of the company to the media? What type of information will be shared both internally, and publically?
Waiting to answer these questions until a crisis occursincreases the likelihood of poor decisions and mistakes that will add fuel to the fire of a negative situation.
Perhaps your business will be one of the lucky few that never needs a crisis communication plan. But having one prepared in advance will help minimize negative fallout and allow your business to repair and rebuild quickly and effectively if a negative situation does occur. Consider a crisis communication plan insurance for your brand, and invest in creating one today.