PR crisis management – telling everything, telling and telling the truth quickly

2019-05-17 Business No comment

I recently opened a TV news and learned that one of our top football teams may have lost an important game because of illness. This story was brought to us by a reporter stationed outside the hotel.

In the car, this is the main story of radio news, the story read by the reporter, once again called outside the hotel. He confirmed that the police had collected samples from the restaurant and passed them on to the health authorities.

guess what? When I arrived at the office, this story was also the protagonist in the tabloid newspaper. Photos of problematic hotels usually support this story.

As a public relations professional, I reflected on the situation of hotel public relations staff this morning. This is a prestigious hotel group with a well-established brand image in the high-end market. For various reasons, they are in the spotlight!

They will definitely have a documented crisis management plan or a more modest approach to public relations. But not only do global companies need to plan ahead. Conducting business, even operating non-profit organizations, puts everyone at risk of a public relations crisis.

No organization is far from the crisis and the media attention it causes. Their reputation can be washed away or severely damaged in an instant. A crisis is any situation that threatens a company's integrity or reputation, usually caused by unfavourable or negative media concerns.

These conditions may be any legal disputes, theft, accident, fire, flood or man-made disaster attributable to your company. In the eyes of the media or the public, your company will not respond to one of the above situations in an appropriate manner. This definition is not all inclusive, but is intended to give you an idea of ​​the types of situations that may need to follow this plan.

Crisis management is a complex topic, but here are five tips to get you started. And, at the beginning, you have to.

1. Don't wait. Many organizations can only get a crisis plan after a disaster. Instead, brainstorm the possible scenarios or types of disasters that may occur and start planning them. In fact, I found this to be a positive process, as bringing together key executives to share ideas and check out the program often leads to a range of questions that can be asked.

2. Recognize that crises come in a variety of shapes. As I said, this may be a hotel crisis and legal disputes caused by customer dissatisfaction on the Internet. I even remember the phone call from the Boy Scout leader on the weekend. He said that the campsite had been washed away by the storm and some children were injured; the media yelled at her story on the phone! They all require slightly different responses. Brainstorm and prepare as much imagination as possible.

3. Develop a public relations communication plan. A series of media attention may overwhelm you in the few minutes of the news. Also, consider how to provide information to employees, supporters and investors, and customers – yes, remember to communicate your story to your customers as soon as possible. Internal communication is as important as communicating to the public.

The actual plan is related to having everyone leave the building in the event of an earthquake. The communication plan includes identifying speakers, making press releases, setting up a media hotline, and finding places where news conferences can be held.

4. Be prepared to comment to the media and your constituents. Even if you can't say too much because your lawyer is worried about your responsibilities, you should say what you can do as soon as possible. Pay attention, express concern, say concern, and always tell the truth. This does not mean that you must tell everything immediately, but never lie.

5. Provide media training to senior management. Do this before the disaster. Make it a regular part of board and senior staff training. If someone on your board is working in public relations or is a member of the media, then media training does not cost too much. The key is to do this often so that new people are always trained and others are not getting old.

Don't delay your crisis plan. Don't undermine your hard-won reputation by dealing with bad situations seriously! The director and public relations team at this hotel went to bed this morning and seldom knew about their unwelcome publicity this morning. I hope their PR communication plan will become a trusted assistant today!

Suggested reading

1. "organizational crisis: in crisis management and communication", the author: Laurence Barton.

2. "If you want fire, you'd better have a hose: a complete guide to crisis and risk communication" by: Rene A. Henry.

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