How to Successfully Navigate Your Brand Through a Crisis

Handling Comms During COVID-19? We've compiled our best resources.

Crises are inevitable, especially in today’s world where messages fly at the speed of social. Consequently, public relations professionals should always be prepared for a storm before it appears in the forecast. Here are five steps to consider when creating your crisis communication plan.

1. Define the problem

How you react and take responsibility for the situation will make or break your brand’s reputation. First, determine what happened. Was this a matter of poor judgement, a leak of internal information or a technical error? Next, consult with your company’s attorney to prepare for any legal implications.

2. Determine who will address the public

When a crisis occurs, many companies scramble to respond quickly. By putting together a crisis communication team in advance, you’ll already know who will address which concern. In addition to including C-level executives, you should also prepare your customer relations-based teams to respond to media requests and customer complaints with appropriate verbiage.

3. Prepare a statement

By having a general statement template ready to go, you’ll save time while trying to play catch up. If you’re still researching why the crisis occurred, include the other four Ws: who, what, where and when. Keep it short and simple. Include facts and avoid speculation. Treat both customers and employees like insiders to reassert your brand’s loyalty.

4. Distribute your message

Every social media channel requires a different approach, so tweak your general statement accordingly. Schedule posts so that each audience is aware of your efforts to address the crisis. Before you post, double check that you’ve covered all your channels. It’s better to be safe than sorry–you  don’t want to amplify the crisis by forgetting to update your email subscribers.

5. Track, respond and assess the outcome

Once you get the word out, continue to monitor public responses. Social media conversations may either fizzle or amplify the issue. Track the tone and frequency of reactions, decide if you need to clarify any details, and step back from the situation. What did you learn? What worked…and what could use more work? If mistakes are the ultimate teachers, crisis communication is the best indicator of what needs to be strengthened in your PR strategy.

Want more crisis communication tips? Click here to register for Peter LaMotte’s “Crush Crises Before They Spread” webinar!

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

Recent Posts

Cision Blogs

  • Communications Best Practices

    Get the latest updates on PR, communications and marketing best practices.

  • Cision Product News

    Keep up with everything Cision. Check here for the most current product news.

  • Executive Insights

    Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.

  • Media Blog

    A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.