No business is immune to reputation crises. In one way or another, you’re going to have to deal with some backlash from an angry public on a marketing material, a new customer service policy, even a short Facebook post on your page.
What matters then isn’t how you can dodge the inevitable crises, but how to respond to them when they happen. You should very well understand that people will be paying attention to what you’re going to say or do. If you don’t want to add fuel to the fire, keep in mind these rules in handling PR crises.
It’s never a good idea to whitewash issues. You’ll only provoke the involved public further. It doesn’t matter either that you didn’t mean to be insensitive about your latest ad or discriminatory about your new policy, but the fact that you offended the public should be enough to compel you to apologize and take responsibility.
So, don’t make the mistake of covering up things or saying, “no comment.” Admit that there’s fault on your part. And if you can be specific in your messaging, better. It will communicate to your audience that you indeed are apologetic about the situation.
The key in hitting the right, relevant details is to listen to the people airing their complaints. For sure, there’s a specific clamor in the issue. Make sure to include that in your apology.
Any controversy about a brand can easily go viral with social media. If you don’t acknowledge the problem early on, you’ll be putting out a fire bigger than you expect. So, aside from an apologetic attitude, you need to be timely in forwarding your message.
The moment that you realize you’re in hot water, you should be quick on your feet, texting, calling up your team, if possible, gathering them all in the boardroom to discuss how you should communicate to move forward.
It’s also worth noting here that being proactive, rather than reactive, is a better approach. At least in the online sphere. Your social media team should be on top of monitoring negative sentiments posted on the web, so you can get your story out fast before crises turn to nightmares.
There are times when PR crises grow far more quickly than you could manage. There are also cases when other issues emerge, like lawsuits. In these cases, you will need the help of outsiders, like communications specialists and business lawyers in Utah.
Having a public relations firm and a law office to help you craft a message or talk to the media can be a very good move. Sometimes, distancing yourself from the matter and letting the experts deal with it could be the very thing your company needs to save its reputation. Don’t try to control the situation yourself when it has gone beyond what you or your team can bear. Otherwise, you’ll only worsen it.
It’s not easy to be in the middle of a big controversy, especially when your entire company is at stake. If you find yourself in one though, keep in mind these simple “be” rules to protect your organization’s reputation.