Accidents happen, and that’s a fact of life. A crisis is any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt businesses, damage reputations and possibly negatively impact the bottom line. Crises do not discriminate; from Apple and Microsoft, to government officials, to the small 5-person non-profit – a crisis can happen to anyone.
The difference between success and failure during a crisis often depends on preparation and communication. How rapidly and effectively you react in a crisis is critical, and it can make the difference between recovering well, or not at all.
One factor that determines how a company will withstand a crisis is its ability to respond to the crisis. In 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered an outage which resulted in tens of thousands of customer accounts getting compromised. Despite Sony being a multi-billion-dollar corporation, hired an outside crisis management firm. With that firm’s help, Sony got ahead of the crisis, and a month after it happened, 95% of PlayStation Network users returned. Two months after, Sony saw a 15% increase in their number of customers because of the goodwill they created.
An effective crisis management team can stay on top of a troublesome situation and repair the damage – if any – to a person or company’s reputation.
Once the media finds you during a public relations crisis, it’s tough to be breaking news. It is imperative to mitigate challenging situations and position your organization as cooperative, but not a focal point for more media attention. A Crisis Management Firm will work with you to develop a crisis communications plan organized around preventive actions, preparedness actions, and potential-response actions.
Publicly Related is government certified in crisis management and crisis communications. Bree Gotsdiner, owner, has over 3 years in fire service – locally and nationally. She is also a consultant to the U.S. Government. Publicly Related has clients world-wide, including small and medium companies, best-selling authors, professional athletes and sports teams.
A quality Crisis Communication Firm knows that the best practice is to assess the problem, engage all key stakeholders, plan the work ahead, work the plan accordingly, and communicate complete transparency.
Take a reasonable amount of time to accurately assess a situation. Sometimes, the facts of everything can turn on tiny, minute information. Fight every instinct to react and/or overreact. The best way to address a problem is to keep your collective cool, get the facts, and obtain objective guidance. Develop a clear picture.
Once you have the key stakeholders engaged, decision-making and internal communications will be more effective that acting alone. Your Crisis Communication Team and key stakeholders will form a team. This team needs to create a plan for the work ahead to mitigate the circumstances and lower your overall risk.
As important as planning the work, everyone has to work together on the plan. Be proactive; objective assessments and planning will lead to confident decisions.
Last, communicate as transparently as possible. It is absolutely essential that honesty and transparency happen, or else your company will make the crisis worse by being fact-checked. Consider and respect your audience to know how to best tell them what they need to know, when they need to know it. If that means releasing information piecemeal, so be it.
A Crisis Management Agency will be able to expertly guide you or your organization through a tough situation and get your company back to standard day-to-day operations.