The Role of PR in Managing a Crisis
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Every business, at some point, comes across or face some sort of a disaster. During these times, organizations often consult with a public relations professional, who are referred to as experts in specializing in dealing with such situations. The way the company responds to a disaster can either boost their image or significantly damage the brand. Public relations professionals, who are responsible for developing and maintaining brand reputations can help alleviate the matter as they know how to change public perception with the right words and marketing campaigns.
Crisis Management is one of the most important aspects of public relations and many organizations often fail to understand what this job entails. At a time of a disaster, there’s a lot to take care of than just respond to an angry customer on social media and handling the situation.
1. Offering Advice and Guidance
The PR professional will first evaluate the circumstances of the crisis and then offer advice on what should be the brands' next step to make the problem go away. In order to provide guidance, the public relations professional will evaluate everything – from the background of the company to the nature of the current crisis so they can offer step-by-step guidance on how to manage the situation.
For instance, a PR expert might guide the company’s management on how to address their audience when making a public announcement, with the right messaging and which terms to avoid.
2. Handling Press and Media Attention
The public relations specialist will be pro-active once the issue goes public and answer to any media queries. They will also offer advice to their client on how to manage the situation. For example, the PR rep can draft a press release and statements on behalf of their client and provide training to answer any questions presented to them by journalists.
A PR expert, on the other hand, can represent their client in press briefings and speak on behalf of the client and schedule meetings and interviews with their contacts in the media to guarantee a positive article and right messaging. A professional PR rep would also advise their client on how to maintain the loyalty of their customers, shareholders, and investors while taking care of the crisis.
3. Ongoing Support after an Incident
Once the disaster has been conceded, the PR expert will start to develop plans to overcome the bad light during the disaster and to regain the earlier reputation of the brand. For example, they can create a marketing campaign focusing on the positive aspect of the brand.
A PR professional can also set up interviews and press releases to divert all the attention from the crisis that happened and also create a plan for their client to be ready should a similar incident ever happened again.