CRISIS COMMUNICATION: HANDLING NEGATIVE PRESS
-BY AASTHA NIRMAL
Crisis management requires more than an apologetic press release or a CEO’s disingenuous appearance in the media. A poorly handled PR crisis may have a detrimental effect on businesses for years, driving away clients and tarnishing the reputation of the company.
Hashtags like #deleteuber and Facebook selling data of 87 million users lingers on in the public’s mind. However, a potential crisis may be converted into a loyalty-building marketing event when a negative scenario is handled with a planned mitigation approach.
To be ready for crisis situations, businesses of all shapes and sizes must create crisis communication plans. Consumers have access to a wide range of information sources, and social media and news platforms allow rumors or truths to spread quickly. Public relations (PR) practitioners must be prepared to act quickly and consistently in the face of an incident, communicating a coherent message to the public as soon as possible to prevent issues.
HOW TO COMBAT CRISIS SITUATIONS
There are a number of things a business can do to prevent a PR catastrophe during a crisis. First, before a crisis situation arises, firms need to plan ahead and be ready. In order to effectively implement crisis communication methods, company leaders and staff must be well-versed in crisis management ideas.
1. PLANNING FOR CRISIS
Identify your weakness – Businesses must determine their strengths and shortcomings. Regular audits should be carried out, looking at websites and infrastructure systems. Additionally, crisis simulations must be carried out to assess how alternative approaches could perform.
Make a plan – Organizations may have business continuity plans that outline how to maintain operations in the event of a disaster.
2. DURING THE CRISIS
Assess the crisis- Before reaching out to consumers, the crisis management team must assess the gravity and scope of the incident. Even though the evaluation time must be limited, it enables the communication team to agree on what information to share and to whom.
Respond quickly- There’s an urgent need for companies to get ahead of any negative news stories or social media posts by issuing statements quickly. In addition to efficiency, responses should be proactive, transparent, and accountable. Representatives should “acknowledge the incident, accept responsibility, and apologize,” according to a statement from Lisa Alloca of Red Javelin Communications in this Forbes article.
Prioritize actions- In case of a crisis, public safety is the No. 1 priority. This includes the safety of consumers, staff, and everyone else impacted by the event.
Use technology tools- Organizations are using real-time crisis communication solutions to help them in building a quick reaction strategy. The crisis management team needs to be able to give and receive real-time alerts with emerging details on the crisis and what actions have been taken.
3. AFTER THE CRISIS
The most important crisis communication tip in the aftermath of an event is – Don’t let your guard down. Conduct a post-crisis review to assess whether your response was effective. This should entail gathering customer and staff feedback and ensuring that communication lines stay available long after the crisis passes. Determine what changes need to be made to the crisis communication plan to ensure success if a similar event occurs in the future.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In conclusion, crisis management in public relations is a critical process that helps organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from unexpected events that may damage their reputation, operations, or bottom line. Effective crisis management requires a well-planned and tested strategy, strong communication skills and a swift response. It can help organizations emerge from a crisis stronger and more resilient while minimizing the negative impact on their brand and reputation.