Posted by David Oates 10 months, 2 weeks ago

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Not all Crisis PR situations mean TV cameras in a company’s front lobby and the torrid details are strewn all over Twitter. In fact, many never make headlines.

The problem stems from not knowing which negative stories will make news and which ones will fade away. Do nothing and just pray for the issue to subside without generating any PR buzz will leave an organization in a big hole should the issue become public.

Regardless of your “gut feeling” on the probability that a matter your business faces will turn into the next Instagram hit, preparing for the worst must occur. Organizations will need to take the necessary precautions. Go through some dry runs with trained communication professionals that will equip you for the tough questions by media and other entities. Be sure to express empathy and action in your messaging. Practice not getting defensive or deflecting blame. Be sure you come across genuine and sincere. 

Once you’re ready to take on the onslaught of media, customers and stakeholders, the next question to address is whether you need to take a proactive stance or respond to inbound queries only. There’s no easy answer, but these general guidelines should help:

Go proactive if:

  • The story is already in the public domain, be it Reddit, Social Media, Mainstream News, Yelp or other media.
  • If the possibility of public backlash is significant should they discover that the company didn’t voluntarily disclose the information sooner.

If an organization can answer “no” to both situations, it may be best to stay in a Reactive Crisis PR posture. Keep monitoring the situation and be ready to change the stance on a moment’s notice, though, for things can change at the click of a mouse.

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