From a negative product review or a goof-up on a social media channel to a quarterly financial report full of losses, crises could come in all forms and shapes, from anywhere and at any time.
PR plays an important role in crisis management. However, that does not mean PR professionals wait for a crisis to happen; instead they plan ahead. In a social media-obsessed world, even the smallest misstep could go viral and damage a reputation that has been built over the years. One of the goals of public relations, therefore, is to be prepared for a crisis before it happens. A good starting point could be identifying all the potential crisis scenarios and taking action to avert them. Once all problems have been identified, it is easier to evaluate how the existing policies and strategies can help incase of a problem and what can be done to make them better.
A crisis communications team comprising top-level executives and spokespersons should be authorized to speak and respond when crisis strikes.
Indeed, crisis communications come into play only when considerable damage has already been done, and it’s task is to prevent any further damage. Therefore, it is important to implement a strong PR strategy from Day 1 to build a brand’s profile and reputation and gain the customers’ trust so as to mitigate the damage caused due to the crisis. When customers trust a brand, it is easier to emerge out of a crisis and for the business to grow.
How to Avoid or Mitigate a Crisis?
It is invariable to have a crisis communications plan put in place even if you are not facing a crisis. Crisis management is a pillar of any PR strategy.
Make sure to forecast or anticipate what or might not cause a crisis in your communications through developing a focused key messages house through which you are able to build and disseminate messages to your target audience.