What is a crisis and where does it come from?
The success of your business and brand relies on the perfect mix of product, reputation and trust. While these are hard earned, a crisis event can strike unexpectedly and quickly, putting it all at risk.
As Warren Buffet says: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it, if you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
The arrival of COVID-19 is a prime example of a major crisis event, with PwC finding that 62% of businesses used a crisis management plan in their response to the pandemic.
Simply put, crisis management is everywhere. Whenever a business is dealing with reputational damage, it’s likely there’s a specialist PR and crisis management consultancy behind it.
As well as external, often uncontrollable forces, crises can also take root internally. This can stem from a malicious or purposefully disruptive event, or simply an error of judgement, for example. Internal crises – whatever their form – can cause huge risk to your reputation, standing and trust with your audience.
Why should I have a crisis and issue plan?
1. Failing to plan is planning to fail
While no business wants to experience a crisis, having a PR consultancy help you to establish a strategy pre-emptively can save you a lot of time, money and reputational damage in the long run.
A crisis period can be a testing and extremely difficult time for a business, but it cannot bury its head in the sand – the issue must be addressed quickly. Reactive crisis communications are often less effective and much slower to deploy that proactive planned crisis communications.
2. It comprises media communication specialists
Although a business may feel that it can engage with media outlets and journalists on its own, a crisis management team can develop specific, detailed and rigorous guidelines. They often specialise in media relations and will know the best way to communicate with the media clearly, honestly and fairly.
A businesses’ public response to a crisis is crucial in maintaining and rebuilding trust and reputation. It should be extremely well considered.
3. It helps to keep your business afloat
A crisis and issue management plan allows you to focus your energies on maintaining the day to day running of the business. While a crisis management PR team will work closely with you to implement the plan, it ensures less of your time is spent making quick or panicked decisions in the event of a crisis.
What does a crisis and issue management plan involve?
While each consultancy will have different techniques, strategies and specialisms for crisis management, any good strategy will anticipate and predict potential crisis scenarios before they occur. This way, you can actively prepare for these – and put measures in place to prevent them.
Policies can also be developed to outline who is the authorised spokesperson or authority figure should a crisis occur, what information is considered sensitive, who should be involved in the crisis management process and when they should be notified.
A comprehensive plan will also help your business to determine how to communicate with key stakeholders in the event of a crisis – and, indeed, who those key stakeholders are.
At the root of any crisis event is trust and reputation. It’s hard to earn and easy to lose – you need to be prepared to protect it.
Want to know more about how crisis management could help your business?