Storms, flooding and national infrastructure failure, that’s a crisis – right? Homeowners and businesses have faced unprecedented crisis as they see their worlds disintegrate into muddy quagmires.
If you read the news you’ll know that perhaps much of this could have been avoided, or the impact lessened, if prevention had taken a real focus. In the world of PR this is called incident planning.
Firstly, don’t think that for one minute it can’t happen to you. Natural disaster, human errors, accidents, you name it, it can happen to anyone and any business.
So how do you get yourself prepared and create an incident plan?
Think about your business risks; employee mis-conduct, product failure, bad service, fraud, the list goes on.
Choose your response team. Identify those people within your organisation who are able to make decisions, are informed about your business activities, contactable out of office hours, and calm in the face of a crisis. Your reputation may depend on it.
Create your statements of response. You’ll never be able to anticipate how a potential PR disaster might unravel but you can develop holding statements ready to share with the media, your customers and staff. This indicates you are in control of the situation.
The best advice I can give is to plan ahead, as a business you have a responsibility to the people that trust you. The media, employees, shareholders, and customers will be looking to you for reassurance; don’t let them, or yourself down, by providing an inadequate response that may affect your reputation.
If you find yourself in a reactive position without a plan, don’t panic, don’t say ‘no comment’, and don’t ignore the issue. Deal with it sincerely and get on top of the situation quickly.
Have you had your reputation challenged; how did you handle it? Do leave me a comment if this has helped you in preparing for any incident that could affect your reputation.