If a company cares about their corporate identity, they must take active crisis public relations steps before a crisis occurs. Think of it this way – a small investment in crisis management can prevent more fuel being thrown on the publicity fire. If you don’t believe preparation matters, tell that to BAE as they start clawing out of the $400 million penalty they’ve incurred from violating the FCPA. Having your company executives arrested and paraded out during a trade show is about as bad a publicity hit as you’ll ever get.
So, what can companies do? The basic crisis public relations tactics often focus on simple messaging. For example, if the executives know the crisis is around the corner, a holding statement can be drafted well in advance that alerts the media to the problem, and explains that more details will be forthcoming. Forget about hiding the problem – the reporters will find out anyway. And, this step satiates the media machine and buys time for the publicist to recommend next steps. By doing so, the company gets out ahead of the story and controls the narrative.
Your company’s bottom-line matters to an ever growing audience, so make sure your messages get to them – especially when people are raising eyebrows and scratching their heads.