Say it right when things go wrong.
That’s the general rule of the thumb in PR when bad things happen to good companies. So when the chips are down the essential elements of crisis communications must kick in: know your problem inside out, know your audiences, know your message and take charge of delivery. Get in front of the situation and guide the message. You may take a few hits, but in general, candor and cooperation go miles toward restoring credibility and reputation. Journalists often respond positively to genuine candor, as does the public. But that doesn’t mean we PR can guarantee a warm and fuzzy outcome in every instance.
Organizations with strong PR operations may be reluctant to turn outside for guidance in a pinch. But strong internal PR people, who are often entwined in the daily details and culture of their business, know when to bring in an outsider with perspective, fresh research, analysis and strategies. I’m fortunate to have a client just like this, and fortunately I used to be a journalist — so I can almost predict (or so I hope) what this client may be facing from the media.
I hope to have more collaborative clients just like them. And stay tuned for the results…