What is a Public Relations Crisis?
As a public figure or a business owner, we don’t have to tell you how important public relations is. The professional communication and relationship maintenance between you and your audience are one of the vital aspects of growing and expanding your brand signature.
However, crisis can happen at any time and can come in many forms. It is important to prepare for a public relations crisis.
What is considered a public relations crisis?
When people see and become accustomed to your brand, you need to watch every single thing that you do. Every decision, every action, every word needs careful evaluation and execution. Even when you need to be casual, there’s actually a lot of thought process that’s involved.
A crisis can be in many different forms. It can be anything from . These mistakes can have disastrous repercussions on your brand.
If you receive a lot of negative feedback, serious complaints, or public backlash about your product and service, then you’re facing a crisis. You can harm and risk your brand if you don’t take immediate action.
Identifying a public relations crisis
Since a crisis can be in many different forms, it can be quite challenging for someone to identify what is a public relations crisis. You wouldn’t want to spend your entire resources to manage a crisis that turned out to be nothing more than a hiccup.
To understand how serious a crisis is, you need to look at it from your audience’s point of view.
It is impossible to consider everyone’s point of view but looking at your crisis from several angles gives you a good idea of what the repercussions could be. Here, you can identify the necessary mitigation actions and use the right number of resources to manage it.
Any negative content directed to your brand can lead to a potential crisis. So, it’s important to know what people are saying about you. You don’t have to lose sleep over negative comments or content, but you need to be aware. At times, the littlest fire can spark an inferno.
One of the best ways to find out what people are saying about you is through social media. It’s a place where many people don’t hold anything back when it comes to criticising someone or a brand. This behavior is a great tell when you need to know how your brand is doing.
How can public relations crisis affect you or your business?
Depending on the scale of the crisis, a public relations crisis has the potential to make or break you.
A terrible crisis can jeopardise your business continuity. There are several brands such as DeLorean who couldn’t recover from a terrible public relations crisis. People can lose confidence and no longer trust your brand to satisfy their needs and demands.
Not only that, a public relations crisis can affect your family members.
If you’re a public figure or the owner of a well-known brand, your family members can be dragged into the ugly PR war and become victims too. This can affect your and their mental health because of the tremendous stress from a public relations crisis.
Public relations crisis management
Reputation management companies specialise in handling public relations crisis. Not every public figure or business has the capacity to manage a crisis. When you don’t have enough resources, these companies can be your only recourse.
PR crisis management companies have experts in various fields to help you manage crises. Whether you need legal remedies or professional finance experts, reputation management companies can source you with the right assets.
These companies will operate in several phases depending on the severity of your crisis.
For example, if you’re a product owner and there’s a crisis with your line, these companies will organise product recall and press releases. This helps your market understand the issue, and more importantly, they see your initiative in taking immediate action in keeping the public safe.
If your crisis is more severe such as corporate impropriety, your crisis management team will use a multichannel approach to handle the situation. Whether you’ll need to make a public statement or post an official notice on your website, corporate impropriety needs to and will be dealt with as soon as possible.
All crisis communication and response plans require careful planning.
As Cormac McCarthy once said, you never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. Some crises are simply bad luck, but it doesn’t mean you should shrug it off and hope it’ll go away quietly with time.
The important thing is to know what constitutes as a crisis and how much resources you should put in to handle such crisis. It’ll be counterproductive, not to mention cost-prohibitive, if you treat every issue or hiccup as a crisis.
This is why it’s important to have a team with the right people as your crisis management team. This team will be able to expertly identify, assess, and evaluate the severity of an issue before everyone starts to panic and jump the gun.
It is important to recognise that a public relations crisis is only an email, or tweet away. It is important to be prepared for such a time and most important of all being able to engage with the right people to help you out of a crisis situation. If you can limit the damage to your reputation you will save a lot of time, effort and money.