The Head of PR at Calise Partners, Stacey Gaswirth, gives her top six things to do in a PR crisis.
Over the years, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do during a PR crisis. Here are six important things to remember while managing the crisis:
- Stay calm
If someone is overreacting or panicking about a crisis, do not panic with them. I have learned that the calmer you stay as their PR advisor, the calmer the other person will be. As tempting as it may be to give in to human nature and panic with them, you must remind yourself that the calmer you are, the better the situation will turn out.
- Maintain Credibility
In a crisis, it is important to maintain your credibility – especially when it comes to numbers. Since numbers invariably change, it would be wise to avoid giving out specific numbers, even if they are true. You want to avoid creating a credibility gap at all cost.
- Don’t Point Fingers or Play The Victim
Speak to only what you can during a crisis. Pointing fingers or playing the victim won’t help find a solution nor put you/your company in a positive light. Stay focused on finding a solution and do not place blame on others – even if they are responsible.
- Don’t Take Issues Out on Social Media
Just because something appears on social media, it does not mean it needs to be responded to. Addressing an issue on a social media platform, rather than trying to resolve in person is never a good idea. Once it’s out there – you can’t undo hitting the send button
- Small, Empowered Teams Work Best
Even though it may seem ideal to have everyone’s opinion, most of the time, it is better to have small, empowered teams manage a PR crisis. Too many opinions of how to handle the crisis may distract from finding a solution in a timely, efficient manner
- Focus On What Matters Most
To avoid creating expectations that can be counterproductive, try to avoid being transparent and focus only on what matters most. Finding a solution and addressing the main issue at hand is the best way to work through a PR crisis. Follow your PR crisis plan and protocols. If you don’t have a crisis PR plan, you should rethink that and have one in place ahead of a crisis occurring.