No matter how many times you have heard the phrase “all publicity is good publicity”, that is not the case, and some news can be severely detrimental to the growth and survival of your business. There are ways you can prepare, both reactive and proactive ways to make sure if you wake up to a real-life PR nightmare, you will be able to come out the other side. Twitter cancelling and boycotting is not something trivial, it has a very real affect, cancel culture can destroy reputations beyond repair, and sometimes after only one small issue.
What should you do in PR crisis? Well as hard as it may seem, you have to remain calm and not panic, a panicked response may cause issues down the line, you need to be level-headed when forming your response.
So, take some deep breaths, and follow some of these steps, to help you on your way to being back on top.
1. Come up with a thought-out response that is on-brand and is as transparent as possible, you want to show a real and personal response, not a meditated and robotic one, no one is willing to forgive a robot that shows no remorse or empathy to the situation at hand. By showing you care and by keeping the same brand voice that you have always had, it will remain familiar and something people are more willing to listen to. You have to also decide on whether you are apologising or remaining strong in the fact that you are not at fault?
You need a clear understanding of how you are wanting to be perceived and what you want to say. People need clarity about where you stand and whether you are willing to change or are steadfast. Acting fast is also crucial and you need to make it clear to all employees about who is allowed to speak on the topic and who they are allowed to speak to, and what they are allowed to say.
2. Show the customers and clients what you are putting in place now to prevent something similar happening in the future, this is very common with apps, banks and other businesses where online security breaches have caused massive trust issues, but this is also something to consider with smaller issues, trust is paramount when retaining a client base.
3. Create new offers, deals, refunds and upgrades to clients to keep them from changing to another brand, customers and clients love when they are getting free or discounted content and items, if you consistently give them something as a form of apology, and a way to make up for what was lost during the crisis, they are more willing to stick with you. A free premium upgrade?
A yearlong membership at half price? A free item with every purchase? These sorts of deals will help to quash the overwhelming loss of a major part of your audience. By showing you are willing to provide value to the consumer to hhelp offset the loss, people will have a positive experience again, creating brand loyalty and trust. You need to be generous in order for your audience to be generous back.
It is also crucial to remember that covering something up, spinning or avoiding the issue completely will cause you more grief than relief. It is important to show that you are able to handle a situation and take charge, that you are not cowering away from your mistakes. Be accountable, be friendly and understanding and show that you want to make amends to those affected. And then maybe after it all, you will have some good publicity out of a bad situation.