Many top brands recruit Public Relations professionals who help them prepare for when things go awry, but can you ever be fully prepared?
Life is never smooth sailing. Organisations and brands are bound to find themselves in a crisis at some point in their lifespan. A crisis period is a defining moment, as it has the power to ruin or mark the beginning of the end for any brand.
Many top brands recruit Public Relations professionals who help them prepare for when things go awry, but can you ever be fully prepared? A crisis management strategy may fail when the worse truly strikes but the importance of having a plan cannot be overemphasized.
So, you are prepared to face the battle, then it strikes and before you blink, you’ve gained a truckload of bad press and customers are ranting non-stop about your brand on social media, what exactly do you do? Here are four crucial tips:
- Take time to gather your facts:
Yes, there has been a crisis and time is a very scarce resource now, but it is extremely important that you sit back and analyse the situation. Your customers will be waiting to hear or read from you and your competitors will be planning how to possibly take advantage of your situation but you need to be as thoughtful as you are quick. Gather all the facts and take a stance, keeping in mind you will not be able to backpedal once you make your first statement.
2. Say sorry:
Simply saying sorry is not a sign of weakness. Just like in human relationships, it is necessary for you, as a brand, to accept responsibility and genuinely express a willingness to do better. A number of brands have been known to take the defensive route in the face of crisis, thereby driving themselves farther into problems. A great example of a global brand that won the hearts of customers simply by saying sorry and expressing its own vulnerability is KFC.
This copy is the best lesson in crisis management, in recent times. Own your problem.
3. Honesty remains the best policy:
At the end of the day, it is best that you tell the truth when a crisis hits. A vital part of owning your problem is laying the facts out as plainly as possible, regardless of how it makes you look. This strategy pays better than covering up mistakes or pushing blames. Even when the crisis is over, customers will remember your transparency and perceive you as human.
4. Get the team involved:
An organisation’s employees are its number one ambassadors and in the face of a crisis, its advocates. In the process of seeking a quick solution to the problem at hand, it might be worth it to engage the team as someone may have useful information to mitigate the problem. Whatever decision you make, just don’t alienate your team.