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Why you’re not ready for a company slip-up

Updated: Apr 29

We all fear it - that day when our phone starts pinging and our emails explode. You’ve had a negative incident that’s exploded. You may think a PR crisis only happens to the FTSE 100, but you’d be wrong. A PR crisis can be a negative customer review that blows up, a data leak, your brand ambassadors saying or doing something bad, greenwashing, not complying with advertising rules and I could go on. You’re not immune to a PR crisis.

You don’t have a PR strategy that focuses on growing your positive values

Consider this, you’ve heard from your hairdresser that Sue stole from the local shop.

Situation A: You think, ‘wow, Sue must be a bad person’.

Situation B: You know Sue. She’s a wonderful person and you’ve had many good interactions with her. In this case, you think, ‘this can’t be true, I know Sue and she wouldn’t do that or there must be a good explanation’.

It’s the same with brands. A brand that has built brand trust and has a good reputation won’t be as affected by a PR issue. While a brand that doesn’t hold the same trust and reputation will be significantly damaged and have huge revenue losses.

Are you with me? Then you’ll agree you need a long-term PR strategy which showcases your positive ethos and includes campaigns which position you as a trusted brand.

Plus, shopping with positive brands is increasingly important to consumers. Shoppers are choosing brands that have good positive credentials. Shouting about your good values helps you now and in the future.

You don’t have a crisis PR plan in place

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. Without a crisis PR plan in place if a negative PR incident arises you will be running around adding more stress to the situation. When a business crisis occurs you need to be prioritising finding a solution rather than planning a strategy and preparing media responses.

Not every situation can be predicted. But you can plan for those that can be. What topics are the public discourse focused on? How could these relate to your brand? What negative comments have you had on social media? These can help you to know the potential topics that could blow up into a PR crisis.

A lack of relationships with journalists

If an incident occurs and you don’t have a reputation with journalists they are more likely to report on the story in the most sensational way possible. One measurement that the media looks at to assess how well they are performing is how many people are consuming their content. This can mean more sensationalist stories and clickbait headlines. If journalists don’t have an affinity with the brand they won’t have as much reason to not report on the story in a negative light without balance.

If you have a go-to contact representing your company then the media have someone they trust and can approach if there’s a bad PR situation.

If your company is a leader in its industry one day there will likely be an incident. Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare for the worst.

Does this resonate with you? Are you afraid your PR strategy isn’t ready for a PR issue? You can sign-up for a free PR Strategy Audit here. We assess your strategy and see what may need adjusting for you to reach your goals.

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