[Editor’s Note: The authors of this article are Jim Moorhead, senior director, global crisis management and litigation communications practice, APCO Worldwide, Rachael Siefert, senior director and N. America digital strategy lead, APCO Worldwide, and Bill Dalbec, managing director, APCO Insight, APCO Worldwide.]
As PR pros know, rule one for communications pros and attorneys specializing in crisis or litigation management is to never be unprepared or surprised when a situation arises.
To quickly respond in a credible and effective manner, communicators must change their approach to crisis management. They must proactively utilize research capabilities to gain accurate, actionable intelligence on the issue at hand as well as the expectations of key stakeholder audiences.
The communications trifecta is credibility, speed and resonance for brands and organizations caught in the grasp of a PR crisis or high-profile litigation. For communications pros, reaching that trifecta calls for a response strategy that answers the questions weighing heaviest on the minds of customers and clients, the media, regulators, and vigilant watchdog groups.
It also requires meeting the expectations of an increasingly discerning court of public opinion. Failing to do so can unleash a wave of business and reputational damage that can be difficult, and in some cases impossible, to reverse.
Address Stakeholder Concerns Head On
Jim Moorhead Senior Director, Global Crisis Management and Litigation Comms Practice,APCO Worldwide
Knowing the full scale and impact of a crisis or litigation, and making decisions on a response strategy, require a multi-perspective, research-based approach that identifies key stakeholders, uncovers their positions and marshals support for the organization.
Many communications professionals and attorneys struggle with PR crises and litigation because they often lack the insights needed to make informed decisions. By improving your understanding of stakeholder audiences and their opinions on the crisis or litigation, you will strategically position yourself to reassure stakeholders and win their support.
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