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PR is all about Spin
Brands, like individuals, reveal themselves the most in a crisis. We see some excel, some suffer badly and others at their worst.  While Public Relations is very much about image and public perception, now the expectation is much stronger that companies will be transparent and are held accountable for their actions. 
In the context of PR, to spin something is to communicate it in a way that changes the way people are likely to perceive it. As such, spin can be seen as intentionally misleading and in fact, damage a company’s reputation more than the original crisis surrounding it. 
Crises need to be prepared for and well-managed, to turn the situation around and give you the opportunity to reach large numbers of people with your brand’s perspective and positive learnings.  Advance preparation can turn a rough situation into the best possible outcome.  In all cases, be truthful, no matter how tough it might be. 
So how do you handle a brand crisis without resorting to spin?
Damage Control
It is critical that no matter how robust a brand you have built, you have a crisis management plan on the Public Relations shelf.  The plan will guide you on the immediate essential steps and basic principles of crisis management, and importantly, on your specific scenario.  From the very first moment a piece of news impacts a brand negatively, brand managers need to know what to do first, what never to say to the media, how to prioritize and what social media tactics to deploy
Have facts and figures ready, make sure spokespeople are well briefed and trained to deal with the media, know the key media and how to reach them off-hours so you can proactively address concerns.  Be prepared with a response to media enquiries or, if unable to answer, let the media know when an answer will be available.  In other words, be prepared and forthright. 
Assessing the Brand Damage
How a brand deals with a crisis during the short-term damage control step will have a lasting effect on its reputation in the long-term, where it matters most. Indeed, that behaviour becomes a benchmark for the brand as conversations in the public sphere revolve around the brand’s handling of the event. When a brand crisis breaks out, consumers and other stakeholders (e.g., shareholders, the media, regulators) are likely to raise questions about the affected brand and why the crisis happened.  
When the turmoil begins to subside, you will need to focus on re-building trust. The question to be answered relates to the prognosis and timing for recovery. That is, brand owners and managers need to analyse both the short-term and long-term effects of the damage caused by the crisis.
Moving On & Learning
The final stage in crisis management is to use your learnings and getting the problem fixed.  Crises let us know where things are broken and can help us identify new solutions and practices to make your operation run more smoothly.  Take the appropriate positive steps to apply that wisdom to your brand and share the lessons you learned with your stakeholders and customers.

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