Planning For Your PR Crisis

PR Crisis, public relations crisis, crisis management, Target, Volkswagen, SeaWorld, Subway, Anthony Weiner, Colin Kaepernick

Never had a PR crisis in your business, your non-profit, or your campaign? Good for you! Just don’t get complacent, because someday you probably will.

Let’s face it, if you hang around long enough something, somewhere is bound to go wrong. As Frank Sinatra says, “That’s Life.”

The biggest names in their fields have been “ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.”

SeaWorld, Volkswagen, Target, and Subway are just a few of the corporate names that have suffered PR crises in the not too distant past. And then there are bold- face names such as Anthony Weiner, and Colin Kaepernick (Who actually wasn’t a bold-face name until two weeks ago, so his experience may even move from PR crisis to PR bonanza.)

You may think because yours isn’t a big company or a large enterprise that “crisis” is too big a word to befall your corner of the universe, but here’s a tip—if you have employees, if you deal with the public, if you handle money, if you have email, or a computer system—you’re vulnerable to a PR crisis. And that’s just a partial list of potential problem areas.

The best way to handle a crisis is to avoid it altogether, but that’s not always possible. Still, there are ways to prepare:

  1. Make a list of where you’re vulnerable: cyber security, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, on-site safety, etc.
  2. Look at your response capabilities: do you have someone on staff who understands crisis mitigation or how to communicate with media?
  3. Take stock of your internal and external communications.
  4. Do you have a lawyer?
  5. Do you have a trusted PR professional?

A crisis doesn’t always give you warning, but sometimes, you really can see one coming—if you know where to look.

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