3 steps PR pros must take when a crisis breaks
When your organization makes headlines for the wrong reasons, it’s time to act. Here’s what communicators can do after disaster hits.
A PR crisis can spread online to millions within minutes.
How your organization responds is crucial. You must stop the bleeding
immediately, or the damage can be apocalyptic. Here are tips for recovering
from a public catastrophe:
1. Make a public apology.
Amid a PR nightmare, many business owners feel indignant, thinking the
public condemnation is unfair, that the episode in question was not their
fault, and that the blame should fall on an employee, a vendor or some
Doubling down just makes things worse. Instead, make a heartfelt apology
where the public can consume it. If you instead indicate you feel no guilt
or responsibility, things can escalate.
[RELATED: Keep your cool in a crisis with these 13 tips.]
2. Fix the problem.
Identify and address the source of the problem so it does not recur.
You might assume that firing an employee will suffice, but other factors
could be involved.
Your training might fall short in showing employees how to maintain
workplace cleanliness and safety. Control processes might
prompt wrongdoing. Accountability may be missing.
Those deeper issues must be resolved to stem the damage to your business
3. Deploy reputation management.
Even if the problem in question has been resolved, the scars of a PR
nightmare can remain for months or even years online. Negative stories,
poor reviews and more can linger long after they have become irrelevant,
and they will keep scaring away potential customers.
takes various forms, including feedback found in social media, online
reviews, negative news stories, comments in discussion boards and blog
articles. Software programs can help you track and manage these things
simultaneously so you can mend your reputation. Though it’s unethical, for
example, to fabricate positive reviews, you can contact people who posted
about negative experiences on review sites and try to correct their issues.
is a Denver-based entrepreneur who writes about business, marketing and