|Roy Reid featured in OBJ on How to Handle Corporate Crisis||| Print ||
How to handle your firm’s next PR nightmare
From the Orlando Business Journal by Richard Bilbao, ReporterFriday, 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.
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