Don’t Panic! Here Are The Top Crisis Communications Strategies

From large corporations to schools, government entities and even your friendly, neighborhood ice cream shop, every organization – large and small – will undoubtedly experience a crisis at one time or another.

 

And while every situation is different, one thing remains the same – the decisions you make regarding crisis communications will either help your company ride out the chaotic roller coaster or, if you’re not careful, cause lasting damage to your brand.

 

Following the crisis communications strategies listed below could help you protect your organization during a difficult time.

 

Preparation is Key

While it’s impossible to know exactly when a crisis will strike, it’s important to anticipate and plan for potential crises.

 

The best way to prepare is to create a detailed plan outlining every possible crisis – everything from running out of ice cream on a hot, summer day to the building burning down – and the best possible response for each situation.

 

One of the biggest challenges companies face during a crisis is having too many cooks in the kitchen. The crisis communications plan should specify who will make final decisions on messaging, who will be the media spokesperson and who needs to be looped into all crisis communications discussions.

 

Accuracy and Speed

At Dittoe PR, we consider accuracy and speed to be two of the main ingredients in crisis preparedness – and while both are important, the two can sometimes create a confusing balancing act.

 

In the case of a major crisis, it is incredibly important to act quickly to stay ahead of the media and response from target audiences. However, that does not mean you should hastily share information or whip up a media statement too quickly.

 

Our recommendation? Face the crisis head on, only sharing accurate and factual information. If you are unsure of how the fire started, avoid speculation at all costs. Instead, share what you DO know. Avoiding the media during a crisis is often the biggest mistake a company can make, as it creates unnecessary rumors and spreads confusing messages.

 

Company transparency

During a crisis, it’s sometimes easy to forget about your employees while trying to communicate with the media, law enforcement, investors and everyone else on your list. However, neglecting employees could be harmful to your company’s internal well-being.

 

Oftentimes, employees catch on to crisis situations even if the company has not shared information and updates. Company morale can quickly diminish if employees think something is wrong, but are not receiving informational updates. Instead, the organization should always make sure to share the most up-to-date information with all employees to keep everyone in the know.

 

In the event of a crisis, the CEO and the executive team must consider the company’s employees as another constituency to respect and inform. This is particularly helpful should an employee want to discuss the company’s situation with others, on social media or even with the media. You should prep employees on what’s appropriate to share with their own networks (and also what’s not).

 

In short, managing crisis communications is no easy task. However, it doesn’t have to be detrimental to your brand if you prepare, act quickly, share accurate information with the media and your employees, and most importantly, avoid panic!

 

Additionally, working with an experienced PR firm can ensure success before, during, and after a crisis occurs, as well as strongly increase the chances of making it through unscathed.

 

Think your company or brand could benefit from expert crisis communications? We’re happy to help!

Telling the right story at the right time: the art of ‘newsjacking’

We are strong believers that every brand, company and founder has a compelling story to share. From advice on bolstering employee engagement to international travel tips or the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste, every company can and should be an expert within their industry.

And while most companies recognize their expert potential, it can sometimes be difficult finding the medium in which to share their stories.

How can a startup or small business break through the chatter to ensure they are reaching their target audience? Is it possible for a vendor to position themselves as an expert in their industry without paying for an advertisement?

One of our favorite ways to ensure that the right people are learning about our clients at the right time is through a strategy called “newsjacking.”

What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the art of injecting our clients’ ideas into a breaking news or pop culture story. Whenever breaking news occurs, reporters and analysts are looking for experts to comment on the story. Newsjacking is an approach that is mutually beneficial for our clients and the media. For instance, in a newsjacking scenario, our client receives media attention and recognition as an industry expert and the reporter gets a credible source on a timely topic for his or her story.

But how does it work?

One of the keys to a successful newsjacking campaign is timing. While a company may have a fantastic opinion on a current event or a national trend, reporters likely won’t be interested in that perspective after a week or even a day has passed. The news cycle is extremely fast-paced, and the best way to receive media attention is by moving quickly. Luckily, that’s where we come in!

How Dittoe PR can help

Our media relations work has always been rooted in having a strong, timely hook and a knack for identifying reporters who might be interested. Our job is to constantly brainstorm how we can share our clients’ stories and proactively conduct media outreach on their behalf. As a trending story develops in real time, we begin crafting messaging that positions our client as an expert on the topic.

For example, when Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris last October, we saw an immediate newsjacking opportunity for international travel insurance client Seven Corners. In the wake of the Kardashian robbery, a reporter at Bravo was looking for expert advice on how to stay safe while traveling internationally and Seven Corners was a perfect fit. By reaching out the right reporter at the right time, we were able to break through the media noise and secure a timely national story for our client.

Think your company or brand could benefit from newsjacking and other proactive media relations? We’re happy to help!