From the Orlando Business Journal by Richard Bilbao, Reporter
Friday, November 18, 2011
Imagine your company CEO just got caught pilfering money from the employee retirement fund, and news of the incident goes viral faster than you can issue a public statement.
In the event of a scandal or other PR nightmare, companies have a short period of time to respond or they risk long-term damage to the business.
Here are six steps to take with any PR crisis:
• Be proactive and own the situation before it gets out of hand.
“A poorly handled PR situation could destroy a business’s reputation and credibility, and, ultimately, end the business itself,” said Sara Brady, president of Sara Brady Public Relations Inc., a Winter Park-based public relations and crisis management firm.
Because some incidents may be unpredictable, businesses should have a checklist of steps to take to keep employees, business partners, vendors and the general public up to date on what’s being done to address the situation.
For example, Brady said companies should identify a credible person who could speak objectively on behalf of the company.
• Be vigilant and use technology to your advantage.
Because the public can use Twitter and Facebook to discuss and, in some cases, incite aggressiveness toward a company brand, it’s important to know how to use social media to gain control of a crisis, said Roy Reid Jr., partner at Consensus Communications , an Orlando-based public relations and crisis management firm. “You have to have a strong presence in those areas, because they become extremely active — especially for larger organizations — as outlets for news.”
• Have a plan of action already established before a crisis happen.
Being ready before a storm hits is the best strategy, said Reid. “If you have thoroughly thought out how to handle various scenarios, you are in a better position than trying to do that when the walls are falling around you.”
• If possible, reveal all the details about the incident or, if the details remain unknown, be honest and say the company is still fact-finding and information will be released as soon as possible.
Consensus Communications is proud to announce that Senior Account Manager Jessi Blakley, APR, was recently elected to serve as a member of the nominating committee for the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Sunshine District Board of Directors. PRSA is the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals, with 111 Local Chapters and 10 Districts across the U.S.
A longtime member of PRSA, Jessi has served in numerous leadership positions at the local and statewide level, currently representing the Orlando Regional Chapter as a National Delegate. She also recently served as Chair of the Sponsorship Committee for the 2011 PRSA International Conference, which was attended by nearly 1,000 professionals from across the world in October. In 2008, she received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board.
At Consensus, Jessi manages several demanding client accounts, and has a successful track record of helping organizations develop and implement media and community relations, reputation and issues management programs. Jessi joined Consensus in 2005, after nearly three years with the Cable News Network (CNN), where she handled numerous successful media campaigns centered around major world events, including the War in Iraq.
In addition to her service to PRSA, Jessi currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Orlando Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She was elected to serve a two-year term as an inaugural member of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Central Florida Young Professionals Advisory Council. Jessi was also recently appointed to serve as an inaugural member of myregion.org’s South East Regional Board of Directors. She is also actively engaged with BioOrlando, BioFlorida, Central Florida Partnership, Downtown Orlando Partnership, East Orlando Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and Orlando, Inc. Additionally, Jessi is a member of the Leadership Orlando Alumni Association.
John Sowinski Debates Destination Casinos at Tiger Bay
John Sowinski, President of No Casino’s, Inc., was joined today by former State Senator Dan Gelber in debating against the Destination Casino bill at Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida. They debated the sponsors of the legislation, State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff and State Representative Erik Fresen.