Desiree Peterkin Bell strives to identify leverage, and define PR strategies through political and non political crises.

A crisis is a threatening situation that risks harming people, property, the reputation and the profit of a business. Organisations must understand that they are not immune to undergoing a crisis, and they should tackle the problem ‘head on’ if one were to occur by creating a PR crisis plan. It is important that businesses are always prepared, with good communications protocols in place to effectively relay information between employees, other stakeholders and the press. Here are the three main steps to plan for and handle a crisis by Desiree Peterkin Bell:

1. Anticipation and Response Plan

The best thing you can do before a crisis is be proactive and prepare beforehand. A useful technique would be to conduct a vulnerability audit by brainstorming potential crises and simulating the possible solutions. Often times this method will bring to light new preventative measures against a crisis that were previously unthought of. It is also practical to create a small crisis communications team, lead by the CEO and PR executive who will specialise in instructing the company operations and response during a crisis. This group could also include experts in specific fields depending on the nature of the crisis.

When responding to the press, there are many ways of saying very little without compromising legal matters and appearing responsive to those seeking information. Authorised spokespeople should be the only employees to speak for a business, and these spokespeople should be properly screened and trained in advance of a crisis. Businesses should understand that there is a difference between proactive PR (promotion) and crisis communications (preservation), and should be careful when sending people to speak to 60 minutes and similar programs, who will often attempt to ask difficult questions that will provoke responses that can reflect badly on a business and damage it’s reputation. In order to provide the best form of response, businesses should make sure that their spokespeople thoroughly understand the situation and will convey the correct information to the media in an appropriate way.

For Part 2