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PR Fail- Have a Successful Crisis Communication Plan with 6 Steps

In this digital age when the communication level has outpaced every possible thing, a Public Relation blunder can significantly tarnish the image of the brand and disrupt the company’s sales; tarnish and disrupt, unless offset with effective counter measures.

Given PR crisis is unexpected, unpredictable and requires a quick (and thoughtful) response, it always pays well to have some pre-approved measures to douse the whole scene. This is why having a crisis communication plan is so very important today for companies- big or small, and highly recommended by top PR agencies in Hong Kong and around.

So how do you strategize a successful crisis communication plan? Here are 6 successful steps-

1. Keep away from “it won’t happen to us” attitude
One way or other, despite all the precautions, it happens with all of us- people or companies. Ask top brands like Coca Cola, McDonalds, Bloomingdale, and Volkswagen. So the fact you think it can’t happen with you, let go of that assumptive attitude. And think seriously of having follow-up measures of any PR crisis.

2. Identify all the possible PR crisis scenarios
Big the brand or company, bigger will be the room for making PR crisis. Identify all the possible ways that could go wrong. Some of the common crisis could be bad quality products or services, inappropriate and insensitive posts on Social media platforms, race discrimination when hiring employees, indulging in unethical measures to outdo the competitors, senior officials caught in compromising situations and so forth. Of course identifying EVERY scenario is tough; list the standard and worst ones.

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3. Your key message for individual scenario
Now you know the possible ways things could go wrong for your brand and business PR-wise, come up with the message you’re going to put out to the target audience in individual scenarios. Like if the quality of your products or services is found to be flawed, how will you react then- what exact message would you want to put out? Would you deny the allegation or admit it? Would you apologize or defend it? Would you assure the audience of taking all the possible actions or simply overlook their opinions?

4. Prepare Press Release templates
You have a clear picture of what could go wrong and what message would you put out in this scenario; time to prepare sample Press Release templates now. Why? Immediate response and action is very important in such scenarios. You don’t want to miss even a minute in this PR crisis. You must be ready with Press Release templates- for the target audience, employees and/or stakeholders. And also be prepared with what you’re going to write (post) on social media platforms and newsletters.

5. Know about your channels of communication
In order to convey your message quickly and clearly in this crisis, identify the most effective communication channels and use them first. Have contact details of all the important people to inform them first. Also, have contact information of top publications and journalists for your Press Release and public statements.

6. Have a PR team for rescue
Assemble a good Public Relation team for such crisis; have selected top managers and executives on the team. Also outsource a good Hong Kong PR agency and have then on your team. Having dedicated professionals to help your brand and business through these tough times is rather essential. After all, even with all the preparation, things might no work your way. And having people on your team who have specific skills and experience in dealing with such scenarios would cushion your brand from the impact of whatever PR disaster.

These the 6 successful steps of strategizing an impeccable price communication plan for any and every PR disaster. Stay prepared and don’t let one instance degrade your brand image and ruin your business.

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