A PR crisis can occur for any company at any time, whether it is a bad review, a data breach or an HR scandal. Be it large or small, these crises have the potential to damage your company’s reputation on a long-term basis. However, a PR crisis does not necessarily mean the end of your company. A PR company can help you navigate the situation, aiming to survive the crisis and help rebuild your brand.
Examples of a PR Crisis
Even the world’s most famous companies are vulnerable to a large-scale PR crisis. In recent years, leading airline British Airways has been slated in the press due to its severe data breaches.
Formerly presented as a trusted airline, a press campaign such as this will mean that clients lose confidence in the brand. Rather than associating British Airways with a high level of customer satisfaction and reliable flights, they start to link the brand to insecure data and carelessness with client details. This, in turn, affects consumer perception and will ultimately decrease sales.
Similarly, Facebook suffered a similar fate after they were tangled up with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. When it was revealed that people’s personal information on Facebook was being used as part of a political propaganda campaign, the public started to shift their outlook on Facebook.
Other common examples of PR crises include internal scandals such as workplace harassment, having to recall products or corporate impropriety such as fraud or theft.
Make Your Voice Heard
Whilst the most tempting option following a PR crisis is to stay silent, now more than ever is the time to make sure you are making noise.
PR agencies will help you stay connected to your audience following a time of crisis, helping you to transmit the right message. This not only ensures that you are staying relevant, but it is your way of assuring the public that you are surviving and thriving after the hit. Instead of cancelling upcoming events, now is the time to give back to clients in the form of advice, content and industry insight. Email newsletters can also be an effective way of transmitting the message that you want.
Humanising Your Company
One of the key factors that PR companies can assist with is identifying the tone of your company message. Humanising your company is crucial as it works alongside the message that everyone makes mistakes but it is how we respond to them that is the most important. A PR company will help you communicate honestly and sincerely which is something that customers will respond to. Expert PR companies are adept at handling these situations sensitively and making sure that the brand comes across as transparent, authentic and reassuring. They handle the fine balance of accepting the fault without destroying trust in the brand.
Depending on the nature of your PR crisis, there will be an increased amount of media and publications targeting your company. This means that at a level of search engine content, negative publications may be the first to appear when people are searching for your company. PR companies will help to combat this by increasing output of positive press. In a sea of negative media, PR will help to publish content, increase social media output, and portray your brand in a positive light. All of this will help to rebuild your brand with the values that you want to convey.
A key skill of PR firms is the training they provide at a company-wide level. In the wake of a crisis, one of the most important factors is making sure that all staff are on the same page when it comes to expressing brand values. PR firms assist with coaching and strategy to make sure that your company is presenting a united front. This ensures that communication is consistent at a company-wide level and that the staff are matching the values that you are expressing in your communications.