A crisis has hit your business or company. What do you do now? Your decisions early on can affect the whole process.
Make a Plan
First, don’t freak out. Crises come in varying levels of seriousness, but most can be managed if approached in the correct manner.
It’s vital to have a plan – if you think proactively, you may already have protocol for these types of situations. You may have a public relations team in house, but if not, reach out to a consulting firm like Sinclair to get the ball rolling.
You’ll want to have talking points – if people come asking questions, what types of answers will you give them? Prepared responses can serve you well in this position and until you have a long-term plan figured out.
You can decide what approach you’d like to take, whether it’s being patient and responding when asked, or reaching out to your audience and customer base to push your side of the story.
If you want to make your story known, you can plan what platforms – such as social media – you’d like to leverage to spread the word.
Make a Statement
Time is of the essence during a crisis situation and sooner or later you’ll have to speak on the issue.
First and foremost, be genuine and own up to the situation. It’ll only do more harm if you skirt around the issue or even worse, lie or not tell the whole truth about what’s going on. Sure, this could hurt your image, but there’s always time to repair what damage is done.
You’ll want to decide how to spread your message, whether it’s a social media post, advertisements or press releases. Press releases could work well for media, along with having a spokesperson ready to take calls and answer any questions.
Make sure the message is comprehensive – cover all your bases and answer the questions people need to know to understand the situation. The process will be ongoing, but you don’t want to have to make statements frequently, which is why the first is so important.
Prepare for the Long Haul
Not all crises are created equal, and some could be dealt with in days or weeks. Others can take months or even longer, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
You’ll want to monitor the situation as it progresses, whether it’s stories in the media or online posts from customers, blogs, etc. If you know the narrative, it’s easier to craft responses and to stay a part of the story.
At Sinclair, we have the technology to view the whole conversation, measure sentiment and create reports based on this data, which will make responding to the situation easier.
You’ve made your initial statement, but you’ll likely have to respond periodically as the issue develops. Design a campaign to mediate the situation, whether through digital targeting or direct mail. Staying in contact with your audience will show them you’re responsive and care about them.
At Sinclair, we understand how the 24-hours news cycle and social media can work against a business, destroying reputations and bottom lines. Our team can combine messaging, technology and relationships to improve your reputation and shift momentum.
If you find yourself in a crisis, reach out. We’re ready to help.