At some point or another, every business is likely to experience a public relations crisis. A negative incident of any magnitude can put a company’s reputation at risk, from bad reviews to a serious executive scandal. There is no expectation that you are perfect, but you must be human as well – and how you handle such situations shows that.
The term “PR crisis” refers to any negative news coverage or review that reaches the public. You may be dealing with a business practice problem, an accident at your location, or an issue that is internal to your company that got leaked to the public. You need to manage PR crises because they can affect the image of your business among your audience.
Ultimately, you probably cannot control the outcome of a PR crisis. You can make some preparations to limit damage, but once the information is out there, you have to be prepared to move forward and turn a wrong into a right.
That is why you need to learn how to turn around negative publicity for your company.
How to turn around negative publicity
How should we handle a PR crisis once we are already surrounded by negative publicity? We can correct a mistake at any time. There is no easy way to do it, but it is entirely possible. There are specific things you need to know and do. Here are some of them:
Issue a sincere apology
In the unfortunate event that you are trapped in a PR crisis, apologize as soon as possible according to a PR agency. When facing negative publicity, staying silent and not responding is the worst thing you can do. The longer you remain silent, the more the media will dig. Apologize to your audience, admit your mistake, be aware of it, and be honest about the whole situation.
The virtue might save the company, but the journey is far from over. A total turnaround requires more steps.
Keep an eye on the situation
Monitoring what people are saying online about your company is also important. For example, if you run a fintech company, ask your fintech PR agency to see if there are any negative user-generated images on Google images, online review websites, social platforms, and your website. React promptly and sincerely to negative publicity.
In the aftermath of a PR crisis, you should assess your brand’s image. For follow-up questions or concerns, be attentive to inbound and outbound communications.
Use the situation as a learning opportunity
Having come up with a plan to address the crisis, adhering to it, and dealing with it honestly, what’s next?
In the aftermath of an incident, you need to develop and implement actionable solutions. Then, learn from the situation.
You could, for instance, try to maintain relationships with your loyal customers first. Your business thrives on loyal customers. Ask your communications agency to give your side of the story an honest spin, direct them in the direction you want, and explain it all again. When done correctly, the result can turn them to spread positive publicity regarding your brand.
All in all, don’t lash out or point fingers at others. Instead, respond with a measured, sincere response. Take the incident in stride and learn from it.