crisis leadership

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As we have witnessed in recent news, how a person or organization responds to crisis has a direct impact on brand.  There is a lesson to be learned here. While there is a risk of responding too soon to a PR crisis and making a problem even bigger than it should be, just staying back from the issue allows others to step up and fill the informational void.  Strategy and communication are both key to taking a leadership position.  Be it traditional or social media, here is a quick list of practical tips should you ever find yourself responding to a PR crisis, which I like to refer to as – crisis leadership.

Do…

Prepare for the worst: Plan ahead by assembling a crisis team of credible individuals you can trust. With a plan in place, if a crisis hits, you can spend crucial time implementing the plan rather than trying to figure out where to start.

Make sure you have the facts: Gather as much information about the situation as rapidly as possible. Investigate quickly to establish if the story is true.

Consider your key audience: Customers, clients, shareholders, and employees should hear the facts directly from you instead of from a third-party. Make sure you communicate with them on a personal basis. Show those affected by the issue that you care.

Do the right thing:
Put public interest ahead of the organization’s interest. Value people over property.

Don’t…

Lie: Instead, communicate quickly, often, and clearly. While it may sound strange, the best-case scenario is when the company in crisis reports the bad news itself. This makes for a proactive strategy that prevents your business from falling into a weakened, defensive position.

Think it will disappear: Never try to minimize a serious problem in the hopes that no one will notice and your crisis will go away. Burying your head in the sand won’t do you any favors.

Assume you’re bulletproof: Your reputation alone won’t save you in a crisis. The court of public opinion is often harsher than the court of law.

Ignore the media:
If you don’t supply the information, the press will look elsewhere and could get the information from other sources.  Wouldn’t you rather the information come from you?
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