Getting a negative review, let alone one that goes viral, is a moment every PR pro dreads. But if a business provides a product or service, it’s unlikely they’ll completely avoid ever getting a bad review from an unsatisfied customer. In today’s click-happy environment and the ease with which people can post opinions online, ire is often taken out in words and on reputation. But there are some things you can do to control the situation and mitigate the damage.
There’s no rule in media relations that says communicators need to answer a reporter’s question immediately, particularly during a crisis. Never lie to a reporter, but sometimes doing the best thing for a brand means deferring on a question until you’re ready with an answer that’s carefully crafted. Veteran communicator Arthur Solomon offers tips about how to do this well.
We can speculate about why Wells Fargo created bogus credit cards or the motivation other brands had for doing things they knew were wrong or even illegal. Tobacco giant Philip Morris International is trying to remake itself into a purveyor of smoke-less product. It says it wants to discourage teen smoking. Then why was it flouting its own rules and using young, attractive influencers to tout its cigarette alternative?
Communicators know it can be difficult to manage a crisis. What about if you’re asked to handle a crisis when the power is down, or you can’t access the Internet or your phone? Better have a digital go-bag ready. Though Adam Probolsky has made preparations for a zombie apocalypse, he also has suggestions for what communicators should pack in their digital go-bags to handle more mundane crises.
Measurement guru Katie Paine provides her take on Boeing’s (737 Max 8) and Samsung’s (Fold phone) crisis-management strategies. Her verdict is that neither company did a good job, though the negative implications seem to be lighter for Samsung.
Our regular Stealable Slide feature looks at a slide Kevin Elliott of Hill + Knowlton Strategies presented during PRNEWS’ Crisis Management Summit in Miami Beach last March. Interestingly, Elliott says the key lesson the slide illustrates is not seen on the slide itself.
When you don’t check the pulse of your surrounding community, you risk losing media opportunities and relationship-building moments that could drive more customers to your brand. And when a crisis arises, community engagement can make or break you.
The opioid epidemic has touched one in three Americans, a new survey from NPR and Ipsos shows. In addition, pharma’s narrative about its role in the epidemic has failed to resonate with a significant majority of the American public. What steps should industry communicators take to rehabilitate pharma’s reputation with the public? Crisis communications provides a possible option.
The media often points to examples of large brands failing to observe crisis-response best practices. The incident at the Topeka Zoo on Saturday (April 20) showed a small nonprofit conducting crisis PR at very high levels. The Zoo not only communicated quickly and transparently, it did so with sensitivity. Some large brands and organizations should take note.
Some PR pros may find it difficult to know exactly what constitutes a crisis. Calls may increase at your customer service center. A company may appear on Google Trends. Or, as Margaret Standing, director, corporate communications at Designer Brands, put it, “you can watch your Apple watch, and see the increase of beats per minute. That’s when you know there is a crisis.” After that, you must decide how to respond. See how crisis experts advised attendees during PRNEWS’ Crisis Management Workshop.