It's only a matter of time before your growing company experiences a PR crisis. Although there are things you can (and should) do to avoid crises, it's inevitable that at some point something not-so-pleasant will occur and your business will be staring down the barrel of a negative media cycle.
When a crisis hits, the value of hiring a first tier PR firm becomes instantly apparent. But if you wait until the day of the crisis to engage a PR firm, the effectiveness of your efforts will be substantially diminished. Why? Because at Walker Sands, we've been handling high profile PR for years and in our experience, the battle is either won or lost based on how well we've helped our clients prepare for a crisis.
- Crisis management plans. Successful crisis management begins with a crisis management plan. At Walker Sands, we regularly work with our clients to create crisis management plans for a variety of scenarios. Even though it's impossible to plan for every contingency, we make sure our clients are armed with detailed plans covering a broad spectrum of PR-related nightmares.
- Response times. Response time is critical in the handling of a PR emergency. A good crisis management plan should include content templates, step-by-step action lists, contact information, and other resources that allow you to respond on a moment's notice. If you haven't prepared a plan in advance, you'll waste valuable time designing and crafting your response.
- Proactive messaging. Crisis PR messaging needs to be precise and proactive. Inaccurate or passive messaging makes a bad situation worse by creating opportunities for the crisis to escalate. Whenever possible, your organization should contact media outlets with your spin on the crisis before they contact you.
- Transparency. Delays, half-truths, and evasiveness are the fast track to PR disaster, especially in a crisis. Tell it all, tell it fast, and tell it right the first time in order to maintain control over the flow of information. Companies that hold back information during a crisis experience the media's wrath while companies that are transparent tend to treated fairly by the press.
In a PR crisis, it's best to designate a single individual as the point person for the media. Walker Sands will work with you before, during, and after a crisis, and will equip your point people with the tools they need to quickly turn the situation to your company's advantage. Contact our PR team today to learn how we can help your business prepare for and survive a PR firestorm.