Social media is a great way to spread your company’s good news and widen your audience and customer base. However, there is a downside: bad news can spread just as fast. If you have a public relations crisis brewing, you need to take quick and decisive action to prevent it from hurting your business.
Here are five important tips on handling a PR crisis so you don’t lose your audience and you maintain your brand.
You need to plan for problems way ahead of time so you can act quickly when they occur.
Once a crisis hits, you should have messaging ready to push out on social media and a strategic plan to follow for everyone in the company. Everyone from the CEO to the person who answers the phones should know the company’s position.
Say You’re Sorry
Get out in front of the problem and take responsibility.
If one of your products is defective, acknowledge it and promise to make customers whole again. Trying to evade culpability can backfire and reflect poorly on your brand.
Show You Have Solved the Problem
Your base will want to know that you have taken measures to prevent the problem from happening again.
Perhaps one of your top executives has acted unethically due to an alcohol and drug problem. After sending the employee to get help here or another rehabilitation facility, you can then explain to shareholders how your response is effective: your company is compassionate to employees while at the same time swift to remove them from responsibilities where their actions could cause damage.
Every business faces challenges: how you react is an indicator of your transparency and integrity.
Monitor Reactions and Respond Accordingly
Google yourself during the crisis to see how your audience is reacting. Check out if they are taking your messaging well or if you need to tweak your response.
Look at various platforms where your customers may be talking about your product or services. Answer their questions. Acknowledge their feelings.
Follow up after your initial statement. Show the measures you have taken to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.
Let Someone Go
Sometimes when a crisis is especially serious, heads must roll. If a failure occurred because of oversight or an error by an employee, you may have to fire someone.
Although it is difficult to terminate anyone, especially a supervisor who takes responsibility for a lower level staffer, sometimes it is necessary to take a bold stand. You need to reassure your stakeholders that the mission of the company is more important than any one person.
PR Crisis: Even the Worst of Times Is an Occasion to Strengthen Your Brand
No company is immune to stumbles, faux pas or mistakes. The key is to react in a way that is consistent with your brand, transparent, and positive so that the company can move on and customers will return.
If you have built a strong reputation, careful management will help you get through a PR crisis with your brand intact. You may even be able to come back better than ever: Tylenol is a great example of a successful company which recovered from a terrible public relations nightmare to be a leading brand in its marketplace.
If you are interested in establishing and maintaining a durable brand, contact us.