Top 10 Tips For Managing A Crisis
September 16, 2014
September 16, 2014
Two of our own, Jon Pappas and Allyson Quinby, have been working hard to establish and grow our New York City branch of Solomon McCown & Company. They chose a WeWork's space close to Bryant Park for their office to connect with national media outlets and form new business opportunities. Not only do we pitch our clients to the media at Solomon McCown, but we also provide advice on how to manage crises for them if a problem should arise. Jon and Ally share their top 10 tips for managing a crisis in the WeWorks newsletter. Read the full article below:
A business is never too small to face a scandal, litigation, disgruntled employee, or social media fiasco. (We've seen five high-profile PR crises in the first half of 2014 alone, as McCown recently discussed on PR Newser.)
As a Boston-based public relations firm, we decided to open a New York City office at WeWork Bryant Park with Ally Quinby and Jonathan Pappas to be close to national media outlets and to develop new business opportunities with everyone from startups to global companies.
If we're not pitching real estate, corporate, healthcare, or nonprofit clients to national media, we provide services and counsel to companies on how they can plan for and manage PR crises.
Below, we share our top 10 tips for managing a crisis:
1. PR + Legal = A strong team
You'll get the most value by having all perspectives at the table from the outset to work collaboratively. Make sure you have experienced legal counsel working with someone who's public relations savvy.
2. Survey the whole landscape
Anticipate the responses and concerns of all of your different stakeholders, from investors to employees to customers.
3. Play offense
Have a proactive strategy ready at all times. Your organization should be able to get out in front of the story rather than scrambling to play defense.
4. Follow the moving target
Media coverage and public perception will change moment to moment, and one negative blogger can quickly build a stronghold of followers. Stay on top of coverage from every possible avenue: print, broadcast, and social media.
5. Don't behave like an ostrich
Putting your head in the sand and failing to return calls doesn't make the media go away. Stories will be written regardless, and those who refuse to speak with media lose the opportunity to shape the coverage.
6. “No Comment” is a comment
And it speaks volumes. At the very least, prepare a statement to share with the media as your organization determines its long-term strategy.
7. It's time for the leader to lead
In most cases, CEOs should be the public face of the company at difficult times. Corporate leaders should communicate that they care and be clear about what they are doing to fix the problem.
8. Transparency is critical
Smoke and mirrors won't minimize exposure. Tell the truth early and drive the way it is told — or risk having the story told for you. By hiding information, you may also continue to drive negative attention for much longer than necessary.
9. Saying “I'm sorry” is not a confession of guilt
In reality, it is the angry customers who become class-action plaintiffs. A carefully worded apology isn't an admission of liability, but it can be an invaluable balm.
10. Become a pioneer
At the right time, assess the opportunity to take a leadership position in effecting industry change around the vulnerability that gave rise to the problem. Was your website hacked? Offer to share what you learned with a commission or reporter.