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Developing a Response to a PR Crisis

Developing a Response to a PR Crisis - Global Banking | Finance
Ronn Torossian - Global Banking | Finance

Ronn Torossian

By Ronn Torossian, founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency.


During a PR crisis, companies tend to face several challenges in terms of communication, including a lack of information regarding the situation that caused the PR crisis in the first place. Companies also often face a lot of confusion internally until all the necessary information has been collected so that the company knows what happened and how it can proceed. Another common challenge in a PR crisis is intense media attention and scrutiny from the public, when more people start learning about the situation that evolved into a PR crisis for the company and start commenting on it, the company itself, and its response or lack thereof. This can lead to the company losing control of the narrative and an escalation to the flow of the necessary steps that the company has to take to be able to formulate a response to a PR crisis. All of these reasons are why during a PR crisis companies don’t have the time to figure out whether they need a plan, or a specific type of response because all they need to do is act quickly and create a response. Hours after a negative story is shared across media outlets or social media platforms is not the time for the company to start worrying about what happened, because the business should already have started collecting the necessary information and developing a response for the public towards the situation. Although no plan can fully anticipate every different type of scenario or situation that a company might face that can result in a PR crisis, having a crisis communication plan in place can help companies outline some of the core elements that can help the business minimize the loss of trust, and develop a response much faster.

Response principles

If a company is facing a negative situation and needs to create a response without having a crisis communication plan in place beforehand, it’s important for the business to begin by establishing a chain of command that will control the flow of information and communication throughout the crisis. The entire company should communicate with one voice, and anyone who hasn’t been authorized to comment on the situation should direct any questions they receive from the public or media outlets to the designated spokespeople of the company. The company will have to take control and convey calm statements while being proactive and transparent with its statements. That means the company will have to stick to the fact that it has at hand, and make sure those facts are verified so that the company doesn’t make any speculations. 


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