(DGIwire) — The Boy Scouts of America have the best and simplest motto that can be translated into all aspects of good PR and Crisis Management: Be Prepared.
Years ago, if a company was involved in any type of crisis, big or small, it was much easier to take control and minimize damage. You had time to react, regroup and respond to whatever negative message, true or false, that was being circulated. You most likely could accomplish this without having a full-blown crisis management plan in place.
Today, things are different. We live in an increasingly skeptical and unforgiving society. Coupled with the fact that in just a few keystrokes, the general public has easy access to an overwhelming amount of information about you, your company, your employees and even in some cases your personal life. It can take minutes for information to disseminate and go viral. It doesn’t matter if the information is true, half-true or even blatantly false, once the information is out there it can be difficult to control, never mind erase.
“Good Crisis Management is about preparation,” says Dian Griesel, PR and Crisis Management guru and CEO of DGI Comm in NYC. “I’ve had companies come to me mid-crisis, in the midst of their fire, looking for help. They definitely would have been better able to navigate the issues if not avoid them all together if they had incorporated crisis management into their business plan.”
Here are 4 tips that Griesel recommends that will help your company strengthen it’s position in good times and in bad:
- Know thyself. Know your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Make an honest assessment of any risks, weak links or potential problems. Identifying these areas will help you to be prepared to handle them if they arise, if not eliminate them altogether.
- Respond quickly. Have a spokesperson ready and versed to address issues and answer questions. Ideally, this would be the President or CEO. Make it your internal policy to have no one but the spokesperson speak on behalf of the company. Mixed messages can sometimes do greater damage than no message at all.
- Recover. Damage repair is as important as damage control. Learn from the crisis and take measures to ensure there will be no repeat episodes. Use the crisis as a way to grow your company even stronger.
- Ongoing PR. If you are too small to justify a full time PR specialist on staff, then by all means hire a good Public Relations firm. The cost of a good PR company pays for itself quickly, not just monetarily but in peace of mind.
Copyright-free content by DGIwire.