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How To Manage A PR Crisis: 15 Tips, Tricks and Rules

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Managing a PR crisis doesn’t have to be a complicated or confusing process. Though scary and confusing when in the middle of one, being prepared to manage a PR crisis can help the process be a lot smoother. Read on to learn 15 tips, tricks and rules to managing a PR crisis effectively! 

Manage A PR Crisis With The Three A’s 

Though all of these tips and tricks are important to learn when you want to be prepared for a PR crisis, the fundamental steps of crisis management can be remembered by thinking of the “three A’s:” Acknowledge, apologize, and action. Read on to learn more about the three A’s of crisis management. 

1. Acknowledge

The first step in managing a PR crisis to acknowledge what you have done wrong. Acknowledging your mistakes and admitting where you took a misstep is fundamental and key to managing a PR crisis. Those who were hurt by your actions want to see that you understand that your action was the wrong move to make. Never lie or defer responsibility for your mistake! Take full ownership and be as honest and genuine as possible when acknowledging what you did wrong. Your audience will be able to sense if you are not being genuine, and that lack of genuinity will only hurt your brand even more, not help it. 

Be careful when acknowledging your mistake! You’ll want to make sure you’re avoiding any legal ramifications when admitting to what you did wrong. For example, if you are a doctor, you’ll want to avoid admitting to medical malpractice unless you want your medical license taken away! It is important to be truthful and genuine when acknowledging your mistake, but be careful with your word choice as you don’t want to enter into any legal trouble.

2. Apologize

After acknowledging your mistake, the next step to manage a PR crisis is to make sure that you genuinely apologize. While apologizing, be specific and clear. Address the group that you hurt directly. Clearly state what you did wrong, how you learned from your mistake, and what you’re going to do to fix it. Do not issue a generic, blanket apology statement. Your audience will believe that you did not put time or effort into your statement (even if you did) and will not feel that they were being heard personally with a more generic apology. 

When brainstorming an apology, try to think about how you would like to be apologized to. What would you want to hear? What would come as genuine or ingenuine to you? Put yourself in the shoes of the group that you’re addressing. Different apologies can be received in different ways. It’s important to learn what would really make your audience feel as if the apology they are receiving is a genuine one they would want to accept. 

3. Action 

After following steps one and two to manage a PR crisis, it’s time to take action. You’ve acknowledged what you’ve done wrong and you’ve apologized for it. Now, it’s time to show your audience that you’re serious about change by taking actionable steps to rectify the situation. Let your audience know what you’re going to do in the future to show that you’ve turned over a new leaf. Depending on what you did wrong, the action you’ll take will vary. You might want to announce that you’re taking a class on diversity and inclusion. Maybe, you will attend a seminar or new training session. Perhaps, you’ll donate to a specific group that you harmed. 

Whatever the action may be, just take some sort of action to ensure that good can come out of the bad of this PR crisis. Show your audience that you are learning from this experience by taking action. 

12 Additional Tips, Tricks And Rules To Manage A PR Crisis

Now that you have learned the fundamentals of managing a PR crisis, here are 12 additional steps you can take to make sure you’re well prepared to manage a crisis.

Before Your Response

  1. Make sure your entire team is aware. Your entire team should know what’s going on in your business at all times, anyway, but especially during a PR crisis.
  2. Check social media for a response. How are you followers responding to your mistake? Find out the issues people have with your mistake by perusing through the comments on your channels. 
  3. Understand how this PR crisis affects your business directly. Will you potentially lose business partners because of this crisis? How small or large is the crisis? 
  4. Understand how your peers will react to this PR crisis. Not only will it affect your business, but those associated with your business. Will they want to cut ties with your business? Or will they stand up and support? Figure out your peers’ responses. 
  5. Do your research. Don’t just come out with an apology without having researched why you should be apologizing! Figure out exactly where your went wrong.

After Your Response

  1. Craft your response only after all research has been concluded. You’ll want to make sure your response is informative and based off of your research.
  2. Create different angles for your response. Don’t just create one response. Try to come up with a few different responses that focus on different aspects of what you’re addressing. 
  3. Ask for feedback. Now that you have a couple different responses, ask for feedback from a diverse group of listeners to see how each one responds. It is helpful to receive feedback from a group of people that might align themselves with the group you offended and can understand from their point of view.
  4. Decide where to spread your message. Your message might be received better or seen more on different platforms. Decide which platform you think is best to receive your message.
  5. Monitor the reaction to your message. Don’t just send your message out into the world and forget about it! Make sure you monitor how people are responding. 
  6. Create different response templates. It is important to be prepared. Though, of course, your aim is to stay out of trouble, sometimes things happen! Having templates ready for different responses will really help you become prepared.
  7. Learn and be careful next time! Learn from your experience and don’t repeat the same mistakes! Remember to be careful of what you say or do in the future and remember how it affects your brand.

In Conclusion

Managing a PR crisis is not nearly as complicated or scary as the situation may make it appear. Just be prepared, follow the “three A’s,” and be careful in the future! 

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