A single crisis may not serve as the demise for your organization, but a crisis not handled properly can generate serious damage to you or your company’s reputation, credibility and integrity. Those companies that do come out of a PR crisis still standing are often times stronger for it, and may even have a renewed base of loyal fans. However, a single misstep can lead your organization and its message down a catastrophic path if you don’t know what you’re doing.
When you are in the eye of the storm, I encourage you to keep the following principles in the back of your head (or at least bookmark this page!) to come out on the other side unharmed.
How to handle a corporate crisis:
- Refuse to be distracted, irritated or rushed
- Keep messaging consistent, and make sure everyone else does too
- Keep external communicators on-message by preparing and distributing preapproved messaging
- Use all tools of communication at your disposal – everything from word of mouth to social media – to get accurate information out
- Monitor the news about you and your organization to stay on top of what is being said
- Find an alternative to “no comment,” and any other negative words or phrases
- Don’t let any outside organization or outlet speak for you
- Contact others who are affected directly and indirectly to hear the news from you first
- At the end of the day, remember that doing the right thing is the most important – not doing the thing that will get you the most media attention
- Remember to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – no matter how painful it may be