01 May Crisis management PR agency
Why a Crisis Management PR Agency Is Essential To Your Business
We live in a world where if you do something wrong, you face trial by social media. No matter how trivial the mistake, once social media users catch wind of what you have done it can go viral. As a result, you will find yourself in quite a social media storm.
Lindsey Stone is an example of how reputations can be ruined in seconds. Lindsey was on a work trip to Washington DC when she took a photo by a sign that read “Arlington National Cemetery: Silence and Respect”. She crouched down, mock screaming with her middle finger up, then posted on Facebook. Once it went viral it took on a life of it’s own. Despite apologising, Lindsey was asked to leave her job and experienced death threats from other users.
Unfortunately, situations like these are becoming increasingly common due to social media. And this not only applies to individuals either! Businesses can also fall victim to the same negative backlash on social media. It doesn’t matter whether you are an established brand or a startup, you should carefully consider the things you share on your social media platforms. It’s also essential that you have a crisis management PR agency on your side to create a crisis plan.
You may think that burying your head in the sand and ignoring it will make the problem go away. However, this is hardly ever an effective way of dealing with an issue. In fact, it will most likely make the problem worse. In today’s blog, we asked our crisis management team for their top tips to plan and manage both internal and external crises.
For businesses, there are a number of internal crises they may experience during operation. Whether it’s a disgruntled employee talking negatively to other staff or making a number of people redundant; the management of these matters is key to avoiding internal crises. Any mismanagement could lead to further issues and the issue becoming an external problem.
Megan Wilson, the PR Manager of our crisis management PR agency, gave us three ways to effectively manage an internal crisis:
There is nothing worse than trying to cover-up any internal business issues. The reveal of the cover-up will most likely be more damaging to your business than anything. We recommend being honest about any issues once they are dealt with. It’s important to acknowledge responsibility and explain how you’re moving forward so you can maintain trust with your staff.
Prepare for questions.
When you tell your staff members about internal issues, you must prepare for any and every question that could be asked. Before you begin telling staff about the issue, think of all the questions that you would possibly be asked. Then, you can prepare answers to them in a positive and professional manner.
Ensure you provide everyone with the same information.
A way to make the internal problem even worse is by telling different staff members different things. After all, these issues are unlikely to stay internal forever and information will get passed round. Therefore, you need to make sure you communicate the same information to every staff member. Of course, you are allowed to tailor the message for each individual or group of staff. You just need to make sure nothing contradicts what you have said.
No matter the size of your business or the industry you’re in, there are a number of external crises that may affect your business externally. From extremely negative customer reviews to PR disasters, the reputation of your business can be destroyed as quickly as the time it takes you to write a Tweet. Therefore, it’s critical to act quickly but in a thought-out manner. Here is what Megan said about handling an external crisis:
Apologise and acknowledge any mistakes you made.
Once you have listened to the comments from your customers, you should acknowledge and apologise for the mistakes. We know that a lot of businesses look at apologising as an admission of guilt and something that should be avoided. However, as a crisis management PR agency, we see an apology as a sign of strength and personability. It helps people see that there are humans behind your brand and you are holding yourself accountable.
Think about information you will give to the press.
It might be completely ridiculous to think that the press would want to cover your crisis but it definitely happens. Journalists love to sensationalise stories and as a result, it could make the situation much worse. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself on the worst list of ‘social media fails in 2020’ Therefore, you should prepare a press release and quotes from your marketing or PR manager about the crisis. Make sure to give them enough information to fill their article but not enough to fuel the fire.
Consider your SEO and organic searches.
You may think that after the crisis has passed that your business is out of the spotlight. However, this isn’t true. You may no longer be on the front page of news websites but you will still appear when being Googled. Think about what potential customers or staff may see when searching your brand name. Any crises will most likely be on the front page of the search results. Therefore, you will need to consider creating blog content and new website pages to improve your SEO. This will help to bump your own website up the Google search results and push the news down.
Here at VerriBerri – a specialist crisis management PR agency based in Essex, we have helped a number of businesses in a time of crisis. Our team is extremely knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to putting together crisis management plans. In fact, we deliver a fully integrated service which includes media training, maintaining media relationships, creating content, monitoring the situation and assisting with legal action.