In most public relations crises, the common denominator remains, maddeningly, the same – a change in tactics and statements, mid-game, that throw more gas on the fire. Perhaps it’s easy to understand why; we only need to think of our own personal ordeals fraught with anxiety and panic. In the face of uncertainty, it’s easy to lose grip on rational thought, and even easier to disregard consistent steps that offer a careful exit to safety.
That’s why Praecere’s philosophy on media crisis management and crisis communications places a premium on planning discipline. After all, crisis aversion is a heck of a lot more fun exercise than crisis management. From Fortune 100 companies to small businesses, every company – if they haven’t already – must take the following steps:
• Be honest with themselves and others;
• Identify each potential weakness in their product or service;
• Know how these weaknesses may affect relevant stakeholders
• Analyze the most effective way to communicate with these stakeholders;
• Have default and standby messages ready to communicate quickly and buy time;
…. and ….
• Remind themselves to be honest with themselves and others.
Of course, it’s impossible to anticipate every possible permutation of mistakes, miscalculations or flat-out wrongdoing that may occur. Still, a small investment in crisis management now can avert much more painful outcomes down the road.