Is your business in rocky waters following a major PR gaffe? It may have come from a misquote in an interview or a late-night Tweet you made. The gaffe may have been a late or tone-deaf response to a news event. Whatever the source may be, you need to be aware of how to handle a PR crisis before it destroys you.
Timely Intervention is the Key to Management
The first thing you will need to do is monitor the situation and make timely responses as needed to contain the damage. You need to send out an official response right away. This needs to be worded in the correct manner to defuse the situation. Whether apologetic or simply corrective, it needs to be accurate.
The key here will be to secure top-level crisis management services to help you contain and neutralize the gaffe. These are services that can help you work out innovative responses to the situation. A crisis management team is an invaluable ally that can help you save your career.
You Should Have a Response Team in Place
You should already have an in-house response team in place to meet the gaffe in public and defuse it. Whatever the source of the crisis may be, this is the best way to sort it out and clear it up. The key will be to have people in place who have excellent skills in communicating to the public in a persuasive manner.
The sooner your response team can leap into action, the better. This is not an area where you can afford to cut corners or merely stall for time. The longer you wait to make an official response, the more time your opponents have to seize control of the narrative. You need to move quickly to frame it your way.
Develop a Response and Brief Your Team
Your next step should be to develop an official strategy for crisis management. Once you have done so, it will be imperative to brief your team. You want them in on every step of the plan so that they know exactly how to respond. This will save time and trouble.
You want your team to be able to handle queries from clients, customers, and the press with ease. You want them to look comfortable, relaxed, and — if the matter is relatively minor — not overly concerned. If the matter is extremely controversial and hazardous, they need to look serious but not overly worried.
The important thing is to make sure that you and all of your team members are on the same page. You need to tell the same story and make sure that every detail matches up. This will help you to present a united front in the face of the crisis. It will do wonders for your credibility as well as your public brand.
Monitor the Response and Learn From It
Now that you have had time to craft your response, the next step will be to monitor the situation. If you were forced to issue an apology, you should be watching the press and social media to see how it is being accepted.
You should never just wait around to see how your response to the gaffe plays out. You and your team should be taking steps to review and learn from the error. The key is to ascertain the cause of the mistake, assign blame and retribution if necessary, and learn from it.
If an employee needs to be fired or a Senior VP demoted, so be it. The real crux of the matter will be your ability to avoid repeating this kind of gaffe in the future. If you are lucky enough to get a second chance, you need to make the most of it.
It’s Time to Respond to the Crisis
Success in crisis management comes down to fast and correct action. As soon as the story leaks out to the press, you need to send a corrective after it. Your response needs to be authoritative, carefully measured, and, above all, timely. The sooner you can get in front of a gaffe, the sooner you can cut off its air.
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