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!

We’re Hiring! Talented Account Executive Needed

Calling all PR pros! We have an immediate opening for an Account Executive position.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Dittoe Public Relations seeks a stellar Account Executive to join its team. Account Executives are responsible for developing and executing strategic public relations initiatives on behalf of the firm’s clients. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills (both verbal and written), strong creativity, high energy and an outgoing personality. A strong emphasis is placed on media relations, strategic account management and client communication. We need self-starters and team players who enjoy spreading the word for the firm’s clients.

Limited travel is required for press tours, trade shows and client meetings. Preference will go toward those with at least two years of experience in public relations/media relations (agency experience is a plus). Salary will reflect level of experience and includes a great benefits package. Other perks include a gym membership, breakfast on Fridays, a weekly half-day work from home policy, summer flex hours, Wine Wednesdays, the “Wheel of Celebration” to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries, breakfast/lunch & learns, unlimited vacation time and paid maternity/paternity leave.

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Responsibilities:

  • Manage proactive media relations efforts for target media (national, local and trade)
  • Work closely with senior account team members to implement objectives and strategies to achieve clients’ defined goals
  • Assist in content creation, such as press releases and advisories, thought leadership bylines, brand messaging, website content and more
  • Conduct and synthesize research, including media landscape and competitor analyses
  • Compile comprehensive measurement reports detailing public relations and media relations efforts and outcomes
  • Identify new opportunities to solve clients’ business problems and assist in the development of integrated, strategic public relations and social media campaigns
  • Guide clients through the execution of public relations strategy and maintain constant communication as a primary point of contact
  • Research industry trends, press lists and more
  • Assess and provide crisis communication expertise when necessary
  • Assist in event planning and coordination when needed
  • Commit to continuous learning and training opportunities
  • Supervise staff junior to you on projects, including Account Coordinators and seasonal interns
  • Contribute to the well-being, development and growth of the agency

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, English or a related field
  • At least two years of full-time, relevant experience in public relations or a related field (agency experience is a plus)
  • Smart, creative, assertive and innovative individual who thrives in an extremely fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility and willingness to collaborate with teams
  • Must be a talented and versatile writer with both creative and technical writing experience
  • Media relations experience with a successful track record of pitching and securing opportunities
  • Successful track record of developing strategic public relations and social media campaigns
  • Proven ability to manage multiple client accounts in a variety of industries
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

To apply, send your cover letter, resume with references, and writing samples to Greta Snell, Senior Account Manager, at greta[at]dittoepr.com. 

Stay Busy this Summer & Apply for Dittoe PR’s Summer Internship Program

If you’re interested in experiencing PR agency life and gaining real-world knowledge and experience, then Dittoe Public Relations may be the place for you! Please carefully review the internship description below.

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Requirements/Skills: Public relations interns will be actively enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, a university journalism, public relations, marketing, advertising or another communications-related program. Current students will preferably have at least sophomore standing. The individual must demonstrate an understanding of basic media relations skills, solid writing skills, an ability to interact professionally with clients, attention to detail, strong work ethic and good judgment.

The public relations intern will be mentored by the intern director and will work closely with the firm’s account coordinators, account executives and senior account managers. Summer interns will ideally work 40 hours per week. Prior relevant experience is preferred.

Responsibilities: We are looking for paid interns to work with us on a wide variety of client projects, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting basic public relations created content including news releases, fact sheets, media advisories, media pitches, client meeting summaries, status reports, social media posts and other materials as directed
  • Assisting with the development, research and updating of media lists and other databases. Other tasks include database creation, data entry and updating additions and corrections
  • Supporting the firm’s efforts by drafting client-ready materials and performing research activities for new and existing clients
  • Carrying out special event planning activities and duties as outlined by the intern director
  • Attending and participating in client meetings, media training sessions, presentations and brainstorming sessions as directed
  • Assisting with administrative duties including B2B communications, organization, office tasks and errands on behalf of team members
  • Assisting firm staff with other client, business development and firm management projects as needed

To Apply: Please email a cover letter, resume and three varying writing samples to:

Britny Kalule, Senior Account Manager and Intern Director
britny [at] dittoepr [dot] com

No phone calls please. The deadline to apply is 5:00 PM EST on Monday, February 6.

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