What Are the PR Damage Control Steps Every Brand Should Take in a Crisis?
When facing a PR crisis, it’s crucial to know the right steps to take for effective damage control. We’ve gathered seven expert insights from founders, CEOs, and other professionals on the must-do steps for brands in crisis situations. From having a swift response plan to acting quickly on negative reviews, discover the essential actions to navigate through a PR storm.
- Have a Swift Response Plan
- Prioritize Transparent Communication
- Show Accountability and Build Trust
- Gather Information and Craft a Strategy
- Offer a Sincere and Timely Apology
- Address Your Internal Team’s Concerns
- Act Quickly on Negative Reviews
Have a Swift Response Plan
When a brand faces a PR crisis, the most critical step is to respond quickly and take responsibility for any wrongdoing. Brands must acknowledge the issue publicly and offer a sincere apology. It’s essential to communicate openly with customers and stakeholders.
Brands must also have a crisis communication plan in place to handle the situation effectively. The plan should include designated spokespeople, key messaging, and a strategy for monitoring and responding to feedback. By taking these steps, brands can start rebuilding trust and mitigating the damage caused by the crisis.
Prioritize Transparent Communication
One must-step for PR damage control is transparent communication. During a PR crisis, it is crucial for every brand to prioritize open and honest communication with stakeholders. This involves promptly addressing the crisis, providing accurate information, and being transparent about the steps being taken to resolve the situation.
By being upfront
accountable, and responsive, brands can regain trust and credibility. Transparent communication shows a commitment to resolving the issue and allows stakeholders to feel informed and involved in the resolution process. It is a fundamental aspect of effective PR damage control that helps brands navigate through challenging times and rebuild their reputation.
Show Accountability and Build Trust
During a PR crisis, brands must act quickly to mitigate negative publicity and prevent further harm to their reputation. Whether it’s issuing an apology, addressing concerns, or taking corrective actions, responding promptly can show accountability and transparency, which can help build trust among customers and stakeholders.
Fortunately, there are several channels that brands can use to communicate, such as social media platforms, press releases, and direct engagement with stakeholders.
Gather Information and Craft a Strategy
Almost every PR meltdown has an impulsive starting point. Some leader, amid a fever to “just do something,” moves too quickly and speeds up the crisis. In the vast majority of cases, waiting to collect more information is prudent.
This is most definitely the case for PR incidents with legal liabilities. Even in situations without legal exposure, waiting to craft a strategy is measured and is less susceptible to the impatience of the news cycle.
Offer a Sincere and Timely Apology
In times of a PR crisis, the most important step that every brand must take is to offer a sincere and timely apology. The power of apology cannot be underestimated, as it can serve as an effective tool for mitigating the damage caused by the crisis.
A genuine apology expresses empathy, takes responsibility, and outlines steps for corrective action. It is important to avoid making excuses or shifting blame, as this will only exacerbate the situation.
A sincere apology not only shows remorse but also helps to rebuild trust with stakeholders. So, in case of a PR crisis, make your apology timely and sincere, and do not underestimate its healing power.
Address Your Internal Team’s Concerns
In the rush to conduct effective damage control to protect your brand, companies often forget about an essential audience: their own workforce. From morale and employee engagement implications, even all the way to attrition, an internal team is often deeply affected by external stories.
When PR damage control is conducted responsibly, in line with the values of the company, and with clear, empathetic rationale provided internally, employees can trust that their leaders are doing their best to make a misstep right. But that trust can be frayed when employees feel like they are merely a secondhand priority, and don’t understand how or why the company is responding as it is.
As best you can (recognizing any legal considerations), create a forum for employees to hear, authentically rather than in “press-release-speak,” what the company is doing to move forward meaningfully. That includes naming the impact the crisis is having on the team, even and especially if that is difficult.
Act Quickly on Negative Reviews
Nothing puts potential customers off as much as negative brand reviews. No wonder an unflattering comment can be responsible for an intense PR crisis. Sometimes even one negative opinion can have a catastrophic influence on business. So you cannot afford to ignore any of them.
When confronted with such a situation, you need to remember time is your biggest ally. That means that reacting as quickly as possible to mitigate clients’ anger is crucial. A frustrated customer requires an immediate response. Apologize, and promise to compensate for the inconvenience. But do it in a heartbeat.
Leaving a negative review unanswered is synonymous with a lack of professionalism and responsiveness to the company’s end. Even worse, it gives your potential clients much space for speculation. Control the narrative by speaking up immediately and don’t give the public enough time to make harmful assumptions.
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