The most consistently planned PR and media strategy can still go awry with a negative comment from a disgruntled customer, a renegade tweet from a staff member or perhaps even an industry issue that you have no control over.
None the less, not planning for a crisis can result in serious brand damage.
So here are a couple of suggestions for a crisis plan to make a rough ride that little bit smoother…
1. Stay ahead of the game
There’s nothing worse than being caught out and managing the media around your brand should be no different. Making sure that you are on top of what is being said about you and by whom is the best way to avoid a molehill developing into a mountain.
Tracking your brand name and your competitors in traditional media as well as social is crisis management 101. Tracking whether there are spikes in conversation about you or a specific aspect of your brand can alert you to the start of something before it gains any traction. Then you can leap into action and implement the rest of your crisis plan to help avoid the worst of it.
Not planning for a crisis can result in serious brand damage.
2. Be calm and carry on
No one hears anything properly when instructions are being yelled at them from across the room. So make sure that you put your very best cool, calm and collected head on before approaching people internally to start sorting out the issue.
3. Assess and investigate
Find out exactly what has happened, where the issue started, what the internal perspective on it is and be sure to advise staff about the situation as well as being explicit about any external communication they should, or more importantly should not be doing.
4. Proactive response
The very worst thing you can do now is to put your head in the sand and ignore it. If you don’t address the issue the amplification of a negative message, especially on social media will usually just get worse, not go away.
- First address the issue through the right channels be it your owned channels or journalists, publications or bloggers you can trust and rely on to get the right message out there.
- Then apologise. Sincerely. Your message will be much more likely to get traction if you can be humble enough to admit where you went wrong and apologise properly.
- Reassure your customer or the market that whatever the issue was, it has been identified and steps are being taken to ensure that it does not happen again.
- Finally ensure that you address any feedback that comes in. Make sure that any negative comments on your social media are dealt with swiftly and efficiently. By this time everyone should be delivering the same consistent message to your audience so you can shut down any further complaint and reiterate the actions that are being taken to fix it.
5. Monitor and learn
Lastly, and even though this is the hardest thing to make time for, you must go back to monitor and learn from the experience.
- Where could you have picked up information quicker?
- Do you need to be tracking additional media to be on top of all conversation threads?
- Do your internal teams need more training on how to manage issues?
- Do you need to work on your ability to remain calm? If so how will you do that?
Not using this opportunity to plan better for next time is a wasted chance to make your life easier in the future. And who doesn’t want that?
Call your iSentia Account Director in a crisis.