You are heading out for a business trip and suddenly, your phone rings, the call leaves you in shock, a cold shiver runs down your spine, a thunderstruck expression on your face is very defined because all your plans have gone into the drain. This usually happens when a crisis strikes as it ruins the image that took years of hard work in the blink of an eye. This is why the crisis is one of the worst nightmares for a business. It literally grinds one’s plans in a crippling halt. This is the time when one needs a fast and effective solution to get things back to normal and PR emerges as a savior.
Does the nightmare of crisis scare you too? If you wish to stand tall in such a situation, let’s dive into the blog. This read will surely help you to prepare for the worst and create a strategic road-map for the very best.
An unexpected or a sudden turn of events that damage the reputation of an organization, a company, or an individual and lead to major unrest, both internally and externally.
Let us explain. Imagine yourself as a customer of one of the most loved instant noodles brands, you have been consuming it for years, and one fine day you come to know that your favorite food brand is dangerous for your health as it has failed to meet the required standards. What will you do in such a case? Will you still remain loyal or shun the product completely? Most probably you’d prefer the latter because you cannot trust the product anymore. It sure is an irreversible damage to the brand’s credibility. How does the brand gets on its feet and wins back the trust of the customers is also a big question. That simply means that a crisis tarnishes the reputation that was built with patience and years of hard work.
There is nobody in this world that invites problems, it just occurs and so does the crisis. A mishap that messes up everything and is tough to resolve. A crisis is, of course, unexpected it pierces like a sharp spike.
A Crisis has never been so ubiquitous. It has further gained momentum through the popularity of connectivity. Today’s generation is ever ready to get on the train of social media to express opinions and eventually vent their anger and frustration about anything that is not ‘right’ for them. They have a great interest in seeking real-time information on issues and are on their toes to debate on any subject you can think of. With the influence of social media, one can become an overnight sensation or lose credibility for the rest of the life. Social media is just like a speed accelerator that has no brake. In the context of crisis, all these trends Inevitably add fuel to the fire and increase the size of the crisis to uncontrolled volumes.
Although it’s not a complete meltdown if you have a crisis communication plan. It gives you the strength and capacity to deal with situations and eventually helps in minimizing the risk that stands in your face. Hence, strategic PR allows for the quick response and works like a pacifier in the face of crisis.
You for sure will get a panic attack if your brand gets hit by a sudden crisis storm but by showing impulsiveness you may turn the situation much more worse. The first action you need to take is to understand the nature of the crisis in order to prepare for an appropriate response strategy. Otherwise, neither your silence nor blanket PR statements will go in your favor.
The best way to handle a crisis is to be honest, accept your mistakes and apologies to your customers, in the absence of which, the storm will take you with it.
An individual or firm having great inside knowledge and who look at such a situation from a journalistic perspective, can put the right team in place using the expertise and experience. This would result in the easing out of the situation and help you in navigating through the rough tides. Moreover, they take great responsibility and become the face of the brand during the crisis. By referring to the ‘thought leader’ or ‘the right team’ I am not pointing towards senior officials. This could be anyone who has great depth and knowledge to deal with the situation.
Once your team has gathered all the facts of the incident, it’s time for you to frame your response. Your response should be structured in a way that the audience agrees with you. Ambiguous and random statements can cause distrust and so the whole team should speak in a singular voice.
The danger has not subsided yet as you need to exercise extreme caution and care while dealing with customers. In addition, you need to keep an eye on the inbound and outbound communication until the situation gets under control.
Everything gives you learning and so does the crisis. So the next step is to conduct a post-action review in order follow up on the process of healing and discuss about preventive measures time and again.
Yes, people will provoke you but you have to be calm. The situation is bound to get of hand and become irreparable if you start losing your mind and lashing out. In the time of crisis, the word ‘No’ works as a great damage control. Instead of shouting and proving your point, you can respond with words on the lines of ‘no comments’ and ease the situation. This becomes all the more logical because otherwise you become the trouble maker yourself when your words have no filter or assessment. If you don’t have a ‘pleasing’ answer, one that people want to listen, you can simply turn towards such golden words and save your day.
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