Publicists like us are often asked about crisis PR. Its need, typically, arises in situations or as a result of events where things go awry. An organisation can risk severe reputational damage, and consequently the likelihood of losing, perhaps forever, public or consumer credibility, sales, profits and shareholder value.
This, of course, is all about public perception. The most important thing, by far, should be that the organisation that has perpetrated the crisis then goes on to do the right thing, whether that involves sacking miscreants, closing down infected plants for a month-long deep-clean, isolating premises, bringing in specialists or appointing a retired High Court judge to uncover what went wrong and why.When such situations arise, or much better, when the first inkling emerges that they might just arise, senior company executives should make two calls: first to the organisation’s lawyers and then to the company’s PR advisers.
The role of PR advisers is to insist throughout the process that the company’s management does what it said it would, and should, do. That means maintaining a rigid focus on protecting its customer by keeping the media informed at all times, 24/7 if necessary, of developments and progress towards achieving these goals.