Handling a Crisis
We can’t tell you how to prevent something going wrong, but we can help you reduce its impact on your reputation. Here’s Arch Communication’s brief guide to handling a crisis.
- Prepare the ground. Build and maintain good, honest relationships with the media, key influencers, staff and your customers as part of your day-to-day work.
- Think about crisis communications in advance. Identify who you need to involve when you’re aware of a potentially harmful issue – whether that’s your in-house PR team or external support. Be clear about the channels you’ll use to get your message across.
- Respond quickly, even if it’s merely to state that you’ve nothing to say yet. When you do have something to say, say it.
- Stay strategic. It’s all too easy to feel under siege and let emotions take over. That’s when mistakes are made. If there’s a lot of media attention, Stay calm and remember they’re just doing their job.
- Be consistent. Even in the moments of greatest pressure, take the time to think through carefully what you want to say and make sure everyone else in your organisation knows it too. Choose your spokesperson and words wisely – ensure both demonstrate empathy, honesty and leadership. This may include saying sorry. A well-phrased apology is powerful in the right circumstances.
- Be flexible. As the crisis progresses, things could change. You may need to adapt your messaging.
- Don’t let the media dominate. Journalists can be very demanding. Don’t let them stop you communicating with your staff and others who are important to you.
- Monitor what’s being said about you – especially by the news media and on social media. Where possible, quash speculation and lies, but don’t get hung up on answering every social media post. If appropriate, post a link to a prepared statement. Don’t get involved in online arguments.
With every crisis there’s a different set of challenges. However, with a bit of forethought and planning you can reduce reputation damage.
We know crisis handling can be daunting. If you want to talk to us about planning ahead, or need help to deal with a current issue, contact us today.