Thursday, July 20, 2017
Experienced PR practitioners will know intuitively the guidelines set down in this article, but it is worth reviewing them before the next crisis occurs. The problem with crises is they rarely come at anticipated times. They tend to blow up suddenly in unexpected places and circumstances. In the frantic first hours, PR is trying to find out what happened while responding swiftly to media inquiries. There is no good way to do it even with machinery in place and rehearsed. Crisis manuals tend to sit on shelves unread and not consulted when an actual event occurs. The best advice in a crisis is to keep the machinery simple and effective. A war room should have the powers to override protocol and bureaucratic barriers to get data it needs. A public or employee response should not be picked clean by nervous attorneys. The CEO should be engaged and not distant. These are simple steps but they are often not followed. It is up to the crisis manager to make sure that basic rules are honored and no audience is left in the dark. It sounds easy but it isn't.
Hat tip to Peter Shinbach for making me aware of this article.