How to ensure your team can handle a PR crisis

PR crises can either give your brand a much needed boost, or tear your image down in a split second. In order to successfully alleviate a crisis that could tarnish your client/company’s reputation, your team must be able to spot the signs before a crisis even begins, and know how to handle it once it’s happened.  Throughout this year, the world has witnessed many PR crises from controversial advertisements to overbooked planes. With PR staff having a variety of experience levels, how do you ensure that your team can effectively cope with a crisis and not end up being the next #PRfail of 2017?

Own up to Your Mistakes

There is nothing worse than a response from a brand that fails to acknowledge the responsibility of their actions. Not only will taking the non-argumentative approach to crises fair better with the general public, it teaches your employees a valuable lesson in morals. By encouraging a work environment that values truth and integrity, it is more likely that your staff will utilise these similar values when it comes to handling stressful crises.

Decide on Your Response Team in Advance

The worst thing to do in a time of crisis is to react with little to no plan in place. Delegating members of your team to act as a response group can aid exponentially in the overall success of your crisis management. Furthermore, it is strongly advised that you develop a crisis management strategy in advance to ensure less stress to both the company and client. In a world where problems can arise in seconds and spread instantaneously through social media, companies can remain calm knowing they have a set team and protocol in place if an issue arises.

Ensure Your Team is Social Media Savvy

Since the birth of social media, news has never spread faster. Ensure your team is equipped with the appropriate skill sets to be able to actively monitor and track social media mentions of your company and clients. By actively monitoring social media channels, you can stop a PR crisis in its tracks by quickly diffusing a negative situation. If you do however enter a form of crisis, by steadily monitoring social media channels, your team can more efficiently brainstorm how to overcome it by listening to what your community wants to hear.

Establish and Maintain Communication Systems

In a time of crisis it is important to have a well-established communication system set in place. Today, there are a wide variety of contact methods such as instant messenger, social media, text messaging, emailing, etc. As there are many forms of communication, the chance of contacting your team and majority of your audience in a time of crisis is possible.

Reflect on Your Errors

One of the most critical steps in training your team to handle a PR crisis is being able to reflect with your team. Once an error has been made and overcome, all processes throughout the crisis management should be discussed as a team and well documented. This will allow your team as a whole to effectively brainstorm the best plan of action in regaining lost reputation and set a plan of action in case a similar crisis occurs again.  Alongside this, it is a universally known fact that learning from your mistakes makes you more equipped to handle similar scenarios in the future. From reflecting on your mistakes as a team and following the above steps you can ensure that your team will be able to overcome any crisis thrown their way instead of being the next big PR fail.

Intern Jacqui