5 Benefits of PR in Crisis Management
By Shifa Sarguru, SOCIATE’S Copywriting Intern
“Good news travels far, but bad news even farther” – Serbian proverb
The benefits of PR are endless; improve your brand’s image, increase your brand credibility, and build industry equity. But did you know that it can help calm a crisis?
What is a crisis?
A crisis is a hurdle in the regular functioning of your organisation. Every crisis, whether large or small, only ever has a small number of participants.
PR, AKA public relations, is a deliberate effort to establish and maintain a good image of the organisation.
Below are 5 benefits of PR in crisis management.
Effective PR detects potential crises.
A crisis is not an unexpected occurrence. It is possible to discover crisis focal points to control the situation before the issue makes headlines.
According to research done by the Institute of Crisis Management, only 14% of crises in the business world are unexpected. The remaining 86% are slow-burning crises that the organisation is aware of.
These low-burning crises have the potential to become major crises if they are ignored for long periods.
Through strategic PR and planning you can reduce the impact of a crisis, putting out fires that you could damage your brand’s reputation.
Effective PR establishes control.
One of the benefits of PR in crisis management is that it establishes control. This is a major step towards recovering an organisation’s foothold.
Through PR, an organisation can show that it is able to communicate in crisis situations. This helps the business avoid panic and undesirable outcomes.
It also shows the general public that the organisation is prepared to deal with the issue through proper standards of crisis PR.
Effective PR discloses everything known to the stakeholders.
“In crisis situations, it is necessary to consider the fact that the act of withholding information itself becomes news.”
Transparency and disclosure is key to effective PR campaigns.
The stakeholders ( investors, suppliers, customers, employees, and the media) want to know the reason behind the crisis, what further action will be taken, and whether the operations will be successfully continued once the situation is normal.
Deliberately keeping information from the public is dangerous.
If you do this, it’s likely to leak through alternate channels and lead to your organisation being labelled as “someone who hides information.”
The statement “no comment” is viewed as an expression used by those guilty by approximately two-thirds of the public.
The role of PR is to disclose information related to the issue in a manner that does not affect the organisation’s reputation.
Effective PR prepares for hostile behavior.
PR initiates a dialogue with the relevant people and key leaders who influence public opinion.
In order to manage and calm the situation, the conflict has to be handled in a way that reaches a middle ground with the opposing parties.
The focus is not only on the monetary damage but also on the emotional impact of the crisis on the involved people and the society at large.
Effective PR maintains a good relationship with the media.
PR professionals build and maintain a positive relationship with major editors and journalists. This means that PR can influence the way in which the media interprets the organisation’s crisis significantly.
Accurate and timely information is released to the media without any delay. The PR team appoints a spokesperson who is responsible for providing facts in the case of a crisis.
By becoming the source of all information regarding the crisis, the organisation is somewhat able to influence the manner in which the reporting takes place.
It is also able to prevent false news from circulating by being the first to contact the media.
Kádárová, Mihalčová, Kádár & Vida (2015) state that, “effective crisis communication in the enterprise should be planned in advance and successfully managed since every crisis has its life cycle, which can be influenced.”
As an organization, approach your crises as opportunities and not as threats. Act rationally as opposed to emotionally when encountering a crisis.