When a crisis hits the news, we are reminded of a valuable lesson: that companies and businesses often have to act fast in order to prevent further damage from taking place.

Crisis communications is an important aspect to tackle as a business owner. A crisis occurs when there is a severe risk or threat to the reputation, business, and organisational viability. A crisis can negatively impact your brand and reputation on multiple levels if it’s left unaddressed.

The role of crisis communication is therefore highly important in formulating an appropriate response as fast as possible and preventing further damage or financial loss.

This guide is written to assist in every aspect of crisis communication. A well-planned and thought care response can help minimise the negative effects on a company or business resulting from bad news.

What is a crisis?

A crisis is a disaster that threatens the survival of an organisation, business or individual.

A crisis situation demands immediate action and systematic response. The time between recognising the existence of a crisis and taking effective action to prevent it from getting worse could be the difference between business continuity of total failure of the business.

Examples of a crisis include natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes or fires; conflict or war; death or severe illness in the family; divorce or family breakup; sexual, physical or emotional abuse; losing your job; being involved in an accident; committing a crime you can’t remember.

It’s said that the test of any good organisation is how it behaves when things go wrong and whether it can successfully manage the resulting fallout from these situations.

What is crisis communication?

Crisis communication refers to the fast-paced process of using the right channels, the right words, and the right timing to handle a crisis, especially when there is a public relations, or a marketing issue. This is done to ensure that the brand and company are protected and that the issue is resolved quickly and in a positive manner.

There are different ways in which crisis communication can be performed. It is a process that is designed to respond to a negative event that threatens the image, integrity, and/or financial well-being of the organisation. It can also be used to deal with other issues that threaten the company’s growth and performance.

A crisis is defined as an event that is deemed to be critical and requires a quick and effective response. A crisis can be anything from a company’s product being recalled, to a major lawsuit being filed against the company, to a product being recalled due to a health hazard.

Crisis communication specialists assist organisations in managing the consequences of a crisis, doing so by devising strategies that prevent crises from occurring and ensuring that if a crisis does break out, it is swiftly and appropriately dealt with.

Why do you need crisis communication?

Crisis communication is an important part of any business. In some industries, it is even more crucial than in others. It is the art of managing crises and communicating with relevant parties in a company such as customers, employees, the public, investors or the press. The general rule is that one should have a planned care response for every decision taken so that crisis communication can be managed if a crisis happens.

Companies that successfully communicate with internal and external stakeholders when crisis hits have the highest chance of long-term success. When companies communicate openly, honestly, and clearly, they earn the trust of their customers. Those who have confidence in a company are more likely to support it and advocate for it.

The most successful organisations are those that communicate effectively amid a crisis in order to really connect with stakeholders and achieve long-term success. When businesses communicate with sincerity, openness, and clarity, they increase their customers’ trust. People who have confidence in organisations are more likely to support and fight for the brand they are associated with. Strategic communication during a crisis offers organisations the credibility they need to develop their strategies and re-enter the marketplace in order to provide relevant services to their stakeholders.

Who needs crisis communication?

In today’s social media-driven world, a good crisis management strategy is more important than ever. But just as every corporation doesn’t need the same crisis management plan, it is also true that not all corporations need the same messaging approach to their crisis communications. There are many different audiences, markets and stakeholders involved in responding or managing a corporate crisis and for that reason, one size doesn’t fit all. So where do you need crisis communication?

Crisis communication is intended to bring together a wide range of audiences, including but not limited to:

  • Employees
  • Managers and supervisors
  • Department leaders
  • Public relations team
  • Information technology team
  • Personnel in charge of security
  • Police officers
  • First responders
  • Government officials

Crisis communication is something that all businesses should be prepared for. Whether you’re an international company or a local establishment, your business and its image are still on the line in the event of a crisis. Some of these crises can be prevented, while some cannot be avoided. This is why crisis communication is not only paramount for a business’s survival, but it is also necessary for retaining existing customers and making new ones.

Theories in crisis communication

Crisis communication has been a focal point of healthy debate for decades. Amid the upheaval, a number of theorists have emerged to offer advanced rhetorical frameworks for responding to a crisis. While some theories are more widely used than others, all of them have valuable insights that can be translated into actionable plans.

Apologia Theory

In crisis communication theory, apologia is the term used to indicate how an individual or group addresses or responds to an event or situation that could potentially damage their reputation. Apologia theory, in essence, is made up of justification strategies that seek to explain and defend the underlying causes and beliefs that led up to the crisis. Apologia theory experts will likely attribute responsibility elsewhere while maintaining a favourable public image.

Image repair theory (IRT)

According to IRT, every organisation has a public image and public relations professionals should target the rehabilitation of that image after a significant crisis. Professionals use tactics like positive news stories, making personal appearances and controlled media events in order to rebuild trust with stakeholders.

Situational crisis communication theory (SCCT)

Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), derived from attribution theory says that in a crisis, the level of accountability and reputational danger should be taken into account when crisis managers plan their strategic solutions.

A crisis’s potential impact on an organisation’s image may be predicted by taking into account a variety of factors, including how the public perceives the crisis and who is to blame for it.

Social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model

Social Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) is a theory that has played a significant influence in recent developments in crisis communication theory. This theory recognises that, in the context of a crisis, a wide range of “audiences” exist in the world of social media, including the following:

Influentials: Those who create content that other people may use or access.

Followers: Individuals who follow important people and have access to the content they create and share.

Inactive members: Those persons who do not directly access information from social media, but instead seek information from other sources or are indirectly exposed to information from social media.

This theory gives a framework for identifying audience traits that may be used to refine communication methods and elements during a crisis.

Integrated crisis mapping (ICM) model

The integrated crisis mapping (ICM) methodology is based on a public-based, emotion-driven perspective, in which various crises are mapped on two sectors: the organisation’s involvement in the crisis and the primary public’s coping technique.

As a consequence of this mapping, organisations will have a better understanding of the role of emotions in crises and will be able to design strategies for responding when crisis strikes

Discourse of renewal

Discourse of Renewal theory varies from other kinds of crisis communication in that it emphasises the need for renewal. With an emphasis on strong value positions, duties to stakeholders, and development as a result of the crisis, the objective is to renew the image of the business. Rather than seeing a crisis as a bad event, Discourse of Renewal Theory sees crises as a chance to progress in a more positive path, beyond its prior restrictions.

Crisis communication plan

A crisis communication plan is a strategic document that helps organisations prepare for and respond to risks. This document is designed in order to help the organisation deal with sudden and potentially damaging incidents that could have implications for its business operations, reputation or stakeholders.

In times of crisis, crisis communication plans serve as blueprints for the organisation, allowing it to respond quickly and effectively. It is an emergency plan that covers communication and prevention of future disasters, as well as preparing ahead for and negotiating crisis events.

How to create a crisis communication plan

Creating a crisis communication plan is a must for all organisations, even the smallest of businesses. In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are not immune to the exposure of a crisis. A crisis communication plan doesn’t have to be complex and should contain the following elements:

Set up a crisis management team

These are the persons who will be responsible for developing and implementing your crisis communications plan. It is imperative that each team member be given a specific task. Informing staff and creating relationships with the media outlets are two of the first steps.

For this reason, senior executives should be included on a crisis management team, which includes the CEO and CCO, along with heads of other departments and legal counsel.

If your in-house team lacks crisis management expertise, it may be in your best interest to hire a crisis management expert or consultancy.

Select a spokesperson

In times of crisis, you’ll need a spokesperson to represent your organisation to the outside world. They are in charge of communicating and regulating the flow of information about your organisation to the general public, your stakeholders, and the media. Your organisation’s consistent message must be conveyed accurately and succinctly through a spokesperson.

This individual needs to:

  • Be well trained.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be real and sympathetic.
  • Know the problem inside and out.
  • Be flexible and creative.
  • Be given the authority to speak on behalf of the company.

Anticipate crises by identifying common crisis scenarios.

Crisis communication planning, or developing a crisis management plan as it is also known, is all about identifying potential crises that your organisation may face and putting plans in place to address them.

If you’re planning on handling customer relations, PR or crisis communication for your company then it’s important to anticipate what crises could happen and how you should handle them. Knowing the most common types of emergencies will help you create a crisis communication plan faster.

For example, perhaps the most common crisis is an event that generates bad press. You or someone who works for you should have a pre-written care response ready when the media gets in touch to cover the story. A crisis communication plan helps you handle an emergency professionally. It’s easy to make a mistake during times of high stress and the last thing you want to do is accidentally exacerbate a crisis.

Identify stakeholders.

The key to a successful crisis communication plan is having a well-thought-out strategy of how to handle negative situations. This includes building relationships with key stakeholders and documenting the roles each group will play in a crisis or disaster.

You need to know who you’re going to inform and how you’re going to choose the key message. These would be the people who will be affected by the potential crisis. They will include first responders, relatives of customers, social media users, government representatives, regulators and more.

Establish crisis monitoring and alert systems.

If you are responsible for handling crisis communication or have been tapped to handle a PR response during a crisis, you will probably want to ensure that you have systems in place to effectively monitor potential risks, vulnerabilities, and threats to your organisation or the reputation of your business so that you are able to quickly identify, understand, and notify key stakeholders and the public of a developing situation in a manner that will not aggravate any problems.

Anticipate stakeholders’ questions and provide answers.

Preparation is key to a successful crisis management plan. Without preparation, you may lose your balance and find yourself trying to hold on to the moving train of a crisis. Preparation will enable you to know how to answer questions from all stakeholders. As a communicator, you should have a plan and protocols in place that provide answers for all reasonable questions that people may have.

Benefits of having a crisis communications plan

Today, it is a business’s duty to ensure that they have a crisis management plan in place. If a crisis does occur, what might happen? Your competitors can use the crisis to their advantage. In the worst-case scenario, the business can be forced to shut its doors.

If a crisis occurs, it could harm your reputation and relationship with team members, customers and shareholders. Simply put, having a crisis communications plan in place can keep you from running into trouble before or during a crisis.

More reasons for having a crisis communication plan are:

Build trust in the workplace

With the rise of social media, reputation management has become increasingly important. In today’s society, people talk about bad experiences more often than good ones and often these experiences travel faster than ever before. organisations must understand that it’s their responsibility to manage and monitor what’s said about them in the media and on social platforms at all times.

When it comes to crisis communications, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having a crisis communication plan in place, so that you and your team members are prepared to deal with a crisis can help build trust within an organisation.

Keep your employees and other stakeholders safe during a crisis

A crisis can jeopardize an entire company, leading to a loss in sales, tarnishing the organisation’s reputation and affecting employee morale and productivity. Having a crisis communications plan in place ensures that your stakeholders are always protected during times of crisis and helps you minimize the damage caused by events like a product recall or workplace violence. By having a clearly defined crisis communications plan, everyone will know what to do should an issue arise.

Prevent the spread of false news in the workplace

In this digital age, social media and the news gets ahead of itself. A crisis communications plan is more important than ever to prevent your company from becoming a trending topic because of something that’s not true. In a world where bad news and lies seem to spread even fast than the truth, companies need a plan before they need a plan.

Prevent panic and make employees feel safe.

A crisis communications plan needs to be more than just a reactive plan, outlining who will do what in the event of an incident. Strong crisis response strategies will reduce panic amongst employees and ensure they have access to all the information they need when they need it.

When employees feel safe and are well-informed, they will be ready to cope with a crisis whether it happens on Monday morning or Tuesday night. Crisis communications plans serve to protect employees from the media, customers, vendors and other stakeholders in order to maintain the integrity of corporate reputations.

Elements of a crisis communication plan

A crisis can be an organisation’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, it happens all too often – sometimes even to brands that you’d never expect. No matter the industry or incident, everybody needs a solid crisis communication plan in place. Its purpose is to help the organisation deal with these crisis situations quickly and efficiently. So what are the elements of a good one?

The Crisis Communication Team

A crisis communication team is possibly the most critical element of an organisation’s crisis management programme. A crisis communication team should be formed to promote readiness throughout the organisation and act quickly in times of crisis. This team coordinates with management to establish a crisis plan and respond to major issues that could damage the company reputation. An effective crisis communication team also acts as an internal auditor, evaluating previously established crisis plans and policies to make adjustments when necessary.

Designated company spokesperson.

The designated company spokesperson is an important element of a crisis communication plan.

The designated company spokesperson in charge of responding to a crisis though your choice should not be based simply on the communications professional who spends the most time at headquarters or prides themselves on being able to talk for hours about your operations, products or services. This is the individual that is most likely to be interviewed by the media, and therefore becomes the “face” of your organisation and the representative of your brand.

Media policies/procedures.

The media is a powerful and influential entity. It is for this reason that a crisis communication plan must include guidelines for how your organisation, brand or product will interact with media/press during an event. Media policies are procedures or guides that outline the corrective actions and practices to be applied when interacting with the media, both internally and externally.

Prepared statements.

Statement preparedness is one of the most significant pieces of crisis communication planning. Prepared statements can be a great way to mitigate risk and control information flow during challenging situations. While natural language processing and artificial intelligence are both valuable tools in public relations, human input remains important when presenting a well-crafted crisis response plan.

Categories of crisis management

There are several categories of crisis management that should be considered when dealing with negative situations. These categories include:

Pre crisis

Pre-crisis management is the organised effort to anticipate and prevent crises from occurring. It is essential for a company to engage in pre-crisis management in order to completely manage a crisis before it occurs.

The Pre crisis stage aims to help organisations determine how well they are prepared for crisis situations so that they can pinpoint any weaknesses present. The strategies outlined in this category help an organisation make sure its key members, officers, and staff are able to effectively handle issues before they come to a breaking point. This category also helps leaders prepare messages around potential issues and anticipate potential problems before they happen.

Crisis

This is the response to the actual crisis stage. This response to a crisis is the stage at which an organisation responds to public outcry and tries to gain favour back from the community. At this point, it is imperative for the organisation to look inward, evaluate the situation and clean up its mess in order to regain the trust of its customers.

Responding to a crisis in a fast and efficient manner is vital. Having a plan in place ahead of time will ensure that your organisation can respond rapidly, enhancing the chances of controlling the situation effectively and quickly recovering any potential losses.

Post crisis

Post crisis management is an important part of the crisis management process that follows an unavoidable crisis. It is designed to restore trust, credibility and reputation following a crisis.

This is a phase in which the corrective measures adopted by the public relations team to resolve the crisis have defused the problem and hopefully brought the company or organisation out of damage control mode. There are several actions that can be taken during a post crisis review to ensure that public opinion is firmly on your side, including implementing a compensation strategy, providing trauma counseling, and conducting exercises to ensure that it is unlikely that any further damage will occur.

Crisis communication strategies

During a crisis, your communication strategy can mean the difference between success and failure. In fact, if you take into consideration that most crises are unexpected in their recognition and have a sudden onset, then it is key to consider how you will communicate with your stakeholders.

There are 3 important steps you can take in order to be efficient when you have a crisis on your hands:

Pre crisis

This involves

  • Selecting a crisis manager.
  • Researching and compiling data on the organisation’s specific crisis risks and past crises.
  • Developing a crisis management plan that includes determining who will handle what in the event of a catastrophe.
  • Putting the crisis response plan through its paces at least once a year.
  • Creating press release drafts for the organisation’s public relations team in the case of a crisis.
  • The command structure that all employees will follow in the release of information to the general public during a crisis situation will be established.
  • A quick reaction crisis communications team should be put together before a crisis occurs, and everyone who will be involved in responding to the actual disaster via crisis communications should be trained. At this point, the PR professional is primarily concerned with spotting and avoiding potential problems before they become crises.

In crisis

Here, when a crisis is identified by the organisation’s crisis management team, the crisis management team gathers and analyses relevant information for decision-making purposes; crisis messages are then disseminated to both internal and external audiences of the organisation.

Post crisis

Post crisis communication involves

  • Making any required adjustments to the crisis response plan based on an analysis of the crisis management team’s accomplishments and shortcomings.
  • Sending out crisis communications when required.
  • Notifying the relevant parties as soon as new information becomes available.
  • Keeping stakeholders informed of the status of recovery efforts, including remedial actions and the status of investigations, as they are implemented.
  • Use lessons learned from the crisis management effort to improve the organisation’s crisis management system.
  • Where necessary, connect with victims, their family members, potential victims and even community members to determine the role of the organisation in the recovery process.

The goal of your strategy is to mitigate the damage and regain the public’s trust after a damaging event has occurred.

Crisis communication case studies

There are a handful of examples of high-profile crisis communication strategies that effectively engaged a community after a crisis, and in doing so rebuilt trust, retained customers, and even generated positive publicity. These case studies offer lessons to help responders in any industry prepare for worst-case scenarios.

The 2017 United Express Flight 3411 incident

In April 2017, a video showing aviation security officers dragging a passenger from United Express Flight 3411 became a source of international news. It remains to be one of the most debated case studies on crisis communication and how it can affect a company’s reputation.

United Airlines initially maintained that its decision to remove the passenger was justified. In a leaked business email, the CEO, Oscar Munoz, criticised the passenger for being “confrontational” and “troublesome”, which generated a critical response on social media to the scenario on the plane and the PR problem that ensued.

It is estimated that United Airlines lost $1 million in worth after this event, after which their CEO made a public statement:

The company later took responsibility for the incident, which though not done in a timely manner, was to the satisfaction of most online commenters. It would have been better if they had issued this response sooner rather than later to safeguard their brand image and reputation.

Through those events and subsequent discussions, it became clear that United Airlines’ policies surrounding overbooking flights and situations involving non-compliant passengers (as well as their customer service) required significant improvement.

Malaysia Airlines’ MH 370 disappearance

When Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, no one had any idea where the plane was located. The situation became even more confusing as time went by without any sign of the plane, and rumours of a terrorist attack began to circulate across social media.

Following the MH 370 disappearance in March 2014, there was much ado about Malaysia Airlines’ crisis communication response strategy. As a result of the mishap, a number of questions were raised about their crisis communication planning process. The crisis response fell short of expectations as they failed to clearly communicate to passengers and family members.

Domino’s Viral Staff Video

As recently as 2009, Domino’s Pizza was confronted with an issue that had been caused by its own workers. Several recordings of two employees joking about in the kitchen of one of their branches were shared on YouTube. Employees at a fast-food restaurant are caught on camera performing a series of unclean tricks, including inserting a piece of grated cheese into his nose and sneezing on another food order. As a result, the footage of the meal delivery was shared online.

The online and social media craze prompted Domino’s corporate headquarters to take notice. It was their Vice President that dealt with the situation and apologised, as well as thanked the public for their efforts in bringing the matter to light.

“Thank you for bringing these to our attention. I don’t have the words to say how repulsed I am by this, other than to say that these two individuals do not represent the 125,000 people in 60 countries who work hard every day to make good food and provide great customer service.”

Domino’s Pizza apologised and informed its consumers that the two employees are not representative of the company’s brand. The next step is to demonstrate to clients that it will never happen again, in order to avoid their reputation from being permanently tarnished.

The 10 Tips for Crisis Communications

Anyone who works in business and has been reading so far is likely already aware of the fact that they should have some sort of crisis communication plan in place.

When things do go wrong, paying attention and reacting quickly are factors that contribute to minimising damage to your business by engaging with the right stakeholders.

Here’s what you need to know about the 10 tips for crisis communications.

1.     Anticipate Crises

A public relations crisis can have negative consequences on your organisation’s reputation and profitability and must be prepared for. Prevention is always best. The best way to do this is by anticipating potential crises, both external and internal. Your team should be prepared to deal with any crisis, and these tasks will help them manage their responsibilities during an emergency situation:

It is important to be aware of your brand awareness and the risks your organisation has to face in the future.

2.     Identify Your Crisis Communications Team

A crisis is unpredictable and dangerous, so it’s imperative to identify your crisis communications team. Your communications team will play a crucial role in responding to the crisis and helping get your organisation through it. It is composed of a few members that aren’t always part of the core team but are specifically focused on handling crisis communication needs.

Appointing a crisis communications team signals that your company takes public relations and its crisis responsibility toward the community seriously. At the same time, it prepares you to address a distressed audience in the most effective way possible.

3.     Identify and Train Spokespersons

When preparing for a crisis, the single most important thing you can do is identification and spokesperson training so that they are prepared to communicate with the media. While your organisation may want to respond to everything, it’s important that you only make official statements through those spokespersons; everyone else should refer requests for information or comment back to the spokesperson.

Your company should identify spokespersons at all levels, evaluate the skills and expertise of each spokesperson and ensure that spokespersons are actively engaged in ongoing communications training.

4.     Establish Notification and Monitoring Systems

When a crisis occurs, it’s best to be ready to respond immediately. You may not have the luxury of waiting until after hours or until the next business day to send out your first communication.

Ultimately, you want the public and news media to get your crisis response. In order for them to listen, you must take advantage of all available technologies for instantly transmitting the information. This can be accomplished by setting up a press notification system coupled with a monitoring service.

5.     Identify and Know Your Stakeholders

One of the keys to handling a crisis is knowing your stakeholders and engaging them in your crisis communication plans. Who are your stakeholders and how you engage with them will depend on what type of company you are and what kind of crisis will threaten your brand.

For many businesses, this includes the Chief Executive Officer, some senior leaders and the Board of Directors. However, especially in companies with a dispersed workforce, there may be employees in locations across the globe. Or maybe companies have entered into partnerships with other companies or organisations where even more stakeholders come into play.

Ultimately, it’s important that all employees know who their stakeholders are so they understand their role and crisis responsibility during various situations.

6.     Develop Holding Statements

When faced with a crisis communications situation, it’s important to develop a holding statement that will provide your organisation with follow up crisis messages to deliver to the public should your crisis situation continue.

Your holding statements will provide information to the media, answer their questions and guide them in their coverage until the organisation’s communication plan is advanced enough to take on that role.

7.     Assess the Crisis Situation

Before you respond to a crisis, you need to determine whether there really is a crisis situation or simply confusion. A lot of times, there’s no crisis. How do you know if there’s a problem? By listening to the voices in the communications room, reading the emails, letters and faxes pouring into your office, and answering phone calls. The more information at your disposal about what’s actually going on, the better able you are to accurately assess the current crisis situation.

A crisis can come from any number of sources – an environmental disaster, an administration scandal, a workplace accident or the outbreak of a disease. Regardless of the root cause, it is important to assess the situation and provide accurate information from the outset.

8.     Go Where the Conversations are Happening

In a crisis, the speed of communications and transparency are proven to reduce the company’s reputational damage. To do this we need to go where the conversations are happening.

People have been using social media for public conversations during crises for years. But the idea that it could or should be monitored and engaged by a crisis communications professional only started to catch on recently.

Monitoring public chatter and sentiment is key to a successful plan during or after a disaster or crisis event, but implementing and executing a plan for social engagement has its challenges. A successful crisis communication plan should provide ideas, best practices and useful reminders to help you refine your procedures to integrate social monitoring with other communications channels after any crisis type of event.

9.     Finalise and Adapt Key Messages

During a crisis, it’s important for organisations and leaders to remain calm, poised and collected. It’s also equally important for them to have pre-determined, ready-to-go statements that people can easily access. This way, the goal of keeping things quiet, polished and professional won’t fall apart when faced with impossible situations.

10.  Post-Crisis Analysis

Following a sudden crisis situation, one of the first things that needs to be done is to carry out a situation analysis. A proper post-crisis situation analysis should help you prepare for preventive measures in future crises and, most importantly, solve the problem for your businesses.

As a rule, there is no single tool or approach to crisis communications that can be used to manage every emerging threat. Rather, an effective crisis management strategy is an organic process that is developed on the basis of practical experience, communications risk analysis and emergency response planning.

How prepared are you for the next crisis?

Over the last two decades, the concept of crisis management has become an integral part of the organisation. organisations are increasingly aware that they are also responsible for the communication of crises.

Crises can have a direct impact on the reputation of an organisation. And the consequences of a crisis can be devastating. While crises are not common, they are inevitable. Whether a crisis arises from a natural disaster, a security incident, a terrorist attack, a product recall, or a system failure, a crisis can have a negative impact on an organisation’s reputation.

At the same time, organisations increasingly recognise that crises can have a negative impact on their reputation and that they are also responsible for communicating about crises.

The question now becomes, how prepared are you for the next crisis?

In the age of social media, being able to communicate effectively with the public is critical.

organisations must have a crisis communication plan. A crisis communication plan is a key component of your organisation’s crisis management strategy.

Crisis communication plans are meant to prepare you for emergency situations Or they can act as an ‘internal review’ of your organisation’s overall crisis preparedness. No matter the reason, all crisis communication plans are designed to serve one purpose – to help keep your organisation both safe and adequately represented in times of emergency.

A good plan will put into place all the measures you need to manage crises whether they be natural, like floods or fires, or manmade, like information breaches or technology failures.

How can a PR agency help?

Companies of all sizes can fall victim to a crisis, whether that’s a scandal at the top of your organisation or a public relations (PR) problem, such as bad publicity. These situations can have an enormous effect on an organisation’s reputation and overall success. A PR agency is essential in this type of situation. PR firms help put out fires and tackle crises before they can do serious harm to the company.

A PR agency essentially acts as a middle man between the company and the press. Companies are oftentimes hesitant at first to contact news agencies because it can feel impersonal and seem cold. A PR agency can “warm-up” this relationship by scheduling interviews with journalists and setting up the conditions under which they may speak with any company employees.

A PR agency utilises communication skills and media planning to create good press for its clients. This has become a valuable asset in difficult times because of the global reach that PR can provide both online and offline.

A quality PR agency will handle a crisis by crafting the appropriate message strategy based on the crisis’ details, doing everything within its power to mitigate the situation, and in turn, protecting and preserving your brand.

Good crisis communication can make the difference between a good reputation and a bad one. A good PR agency knows how to help you out of tough situations, no matter what industry you’re in.

While it might be too late to prepare for the next global financial calamity, you can always be prepared for other crisis types, such as an occasional product or service failure, or a data leak.

About Chris Norton

Founder of Prohibition, listed in the world's top 30 marketing bloggers and an award winning online PR and crisis management specialist. Co-author of Share This Too.