March 13, 2018
From flooded basements and streets to widespread power outages due to downed trees and electrical lines, the recent Nor’easters in New England left extensive damage. But in the midst of such chaos, it was heartening to see individuals stay calm and thoughtfully work out how to care for their homes, towns and each other. Remarkably, this tactful demeanor isn’t so different than what is required in PR.
Keeping calm during a crisis is an essential skill for all PR professionals. It is the responsibility of the PR team to guide clients through upsetting situations. For example, many of the minor instances, such as difficult media interviews, errors in issued press releases or incorrect corporate tweets, can be quickly and easily addressed. However, larger reputational and brand issues – data breaches, regulatory compliance, product recalls or employment disputes – require more time and resources to resolve. For such circumstances, companies need to plan in advance, similar to how individuals prepare before a storm.
To do so, a company can conduct a vulnerability or readiness assessment and create a crisis communications plan preceding a situation. These plans identify the communications response teams and spokespeople, notification methods for stakeholders, and monitoring systems for social media, press and message development.
When issues arise, the plan guides the management team on how to implement a tailored rapid-response program to diffuse reputational damage and prevent additional harm to the brand. Also, this practice keeps the PR team and company executives focused and calm during the storm and the recovery process. When a client calls with an issue – big or small – the PR team can assess the problem and compose the appropriate response efficiently.
Are you interested in conducting a crisis simulation training or reputation risk assessment? Contact our experienced LEWIS team!