It's time for some real talk! There will be times occasionally (though hopefully not) where a brand or business might suffer some unfavorable press. I'm sure we've all seen the PR nightmare surrounding the recent United Airlines debacle involving the violent removal of a paying passenger from one of its planes just weeks after two other passengers were not allowed to board a flight based on a dress code. Truly, I can't think of a more stressful public relations job than that supporting an airline. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind in times like these that every single brand is subject to negative press.
Whether you own a flourishing Etsy store, a delicious food brand, or offer business coaching services to your happy clients, it's important to have a plan in place in case things go wrong. You have to be an optimist to grow a successful business, but that doesn't mean realism gets to go out the door.
Nobody likes to think about "what's the worst that could happen?" and there's no better time to really think and plan for it than when things are going very well. Public relations is just one part of a crisis communications plan, and to help you get started, we've pulled together four considerations for you, which you can download below!
Four things to think about when building your crisis communications plan:
1.) Identify your spokespeople
In a crisis, who would be your key spokespeople? How will you get ahold of them? What will they say? The spokesperson may very well be you!
2.) Set up internal communications
Always be communicating quickly and clearly with staff and stakeholders with any updates as they arise or as they make sense. You don't want your investors reading unfavorable news about you on Twitter first.
3.) Monitor and respond
You should be doing this anyways, but always be sure to monitor the media and social media for chatter and sentiment surrounding your brand. In case of crisis or negative review or story, be sure to respond quickly if it makes sense. Depending on the depth of the situation, you may first want to...
4.) Hire a professional
Your lawyer and a professional crisis communications firm are always the best resource to advise on a strategy. Outside perspectives and expertise, especially if legalities are or could be involved, are strongly advised.
Recovering from bad press is certainly not impossible to recover from. Like all of your communications, keep your audience top of mind and stay true to them and your brand.