A reputational crisis can strike at any time and it’s crucial that companies are prepared to respond at a moment’s notice. But knowing exactly how to respond and what to prepare for, is not always straightforward. This is where a crisis communications strategy comes into play.
Social media and the era of digital news, means news – particularly bad news – is shared quickly across a large audience; therefore, it’s essential to get an accurate response to the media prior to a crisis breaking.
The key to managing any crisis is to take control. This means ensuring all internal and external communications are carefully considered prior to, and during, a crisis. We can help you to take control by managing the reaction to the crisis in the best possible way, mitigating any potential reputational damage.
Our PR experts are former journalists, so they know how the media will report a story and what sources they will look to for information and comment.
A PR crisis can happen to any business, new or experienced. From a serious customer complaint or allegation, to a product recall, accident, or an allegation of misconduct becoming public news. We can swing into action to sort out an immediate problem, but we prefer to protect your interests before things go wrong, with a considered crisis communications plan.
One of the first steps in preparing for a crisis, is identifying a crisis communications team. These are staff members who will take responsibility for making internal decisions quickly and effectively should a crisis happen. It’s important to have a chain of command should a crisis unfold and staff need to know who the designated spokespeople are; basically, who says what to whom and when.
Our PR experts can undertake thorough horizon scanning, identifying potential crises and highlighting issues within your business. In addition, we can help clients prepare effective holding statements or pre-scripted messages. These can be delivered to staff, stakeholders or the media by designated spokespeople when necessary, should a crisis unfold.
Being proactive in times of crisis is the best way to get out in front of negative media coverage and to take control of the media narrative. Robust systems and communication procedures enable you to respond swiftly, accurately and effectively, setting the media narrative from the beginning.
We can help you to monitor media coverage and to respond to reports where necessary or appropriate. We can also get inaccurate reports corrected and mitigate negative reactions on social media.
It’s important to remember that not every issue is a crisis, but not responding to or dealing with issues in the right way can increase the potential for reputational damage and turn the issue into a PR crisis.
We also specialise in media training, from general media awareness for employees who may come into contact with journalists on the telephone or via email, to advanced media training for senior executives/spokespeople that may need to perform live radio and TV interviews.
Our media training will be tailored to your company’s needs, providing your employees and senior management with the skills they need to confidently deal with media enquiries.
We also provide crisis media training, when your company may be asked to respond to a comment or a situation whilst under the mounting pressure of an unfolding crisis. In these circumstances, there’s little time for calm reflection, clearing facts with colleagues, or for planning your response. The media will be demanding information and the public may well be too.
Using role play, we can help you to manage the demands of the media during a crisis from dealing with constant phone calls to putting together a statement or organising a press conference.
Our PR team has 35 years’ combined experience dealing with crises for large regional and national charities, pharmaceutical companies, packaging and transportation businesses, universities, legal and financial firms, and tourist attractions across the UK and in Europe.
Find out more about our PR services.