Due to the pandemic, political situations and consumers being on social media constantly, most companies have found that they are dealing with multiple crises all at once. This means that a lot more brands are facing situations that can permanently tarnish their reputation.

No company is untouchable when it comes to crisis management, especially in 2021. This is why it is essential to have a team of PR professionals who know how to deal with a crisis (or crises) at any given time. The need for this came about because 2021 saw consumers being more focused on a company’s ethics and values, rather than their offerings.

Now, they study the brands they support; and if they don’t like what they see, they will make sure that everyone else knows why.

Take for example this TikTok video:

‘Skin care with Anja’ on TikTok has 95.3K followers and the video above has received over 3.3 million views and 392 000 likes.

In the video, she addresses brands who are testing their products on animals. As a result of this, all the brands she has mentioned in that video will now have to put out fires with consumers who are not happy about the animal testing.

This just comes to show that protecting your brand’s reputation has become a lot harder due to the way consumers communicate with one another; so let’s face it, the chances of your brand being canceled next is now a real deal thing!

On that note, here are the three things that your crisis management strategy needs:

Crisis management tip #1: Have an immediate reaction list

Staying up to date about what is going on in the media and on social media can be tricky. With the vast amount of publications and social users online, it can be easy to miss a comment that can potentially escalate into a full blown crisis.

This is why having a reaction list is essential — it immediately informs you when a certain keyword or phrase has been used that signals a potential PR crisis. The same goes for when a specific user, such as an influencer, has said anything surrounding your client’s brand.

Using a tool that helps you keep track of these mentions will allow you to always be on the pulse of what’s happening online. After all, that’s where most of the conversations are happening because people are working from home and are still social distancing.

They are spending a lot more time on social media because of this, which means that the risk of new crises popping up in this space is higher. See why this tool is invaluable when it comes to crisis management? It helps you to identify and put out the flicker before it's a flame.

Crisis management tip #2: Set up a pre-approved plan

PR pros need to ensure that they have run a potential crisis management plan past their client before a crisis strikes. This is important because things move really fast online, and if a crisis is starting to unfold, the PR practitioner needs to have an existing plan to implement immediately. If this is not done beforehand, it means that valuable time is being wasted.

Therefore, both the PR pro and client need to sit together and discuss a detailed plan of what is allowed and what not during a crisis. They need to create possible scenarios and prepare for what the best way would be to react.

The more detailed the plan is, the better. Conducting in-depth study ensures that the PR professional has looked at every potential outcome that can occur. This will help them decide what the best way is to deal with the crisis, based on its nature and all the potential outcomes.

Crisis management tip #3: Have a detailed contact list

When a crisis strikes, it is essential to have a detailed, up to date contact list to communicate efficiently and effectively with all the relevant people. There should be no time wasted looking for a number or email address when time is of the essence.

For example, once a crisis strikes, the PR pro knows who to contact first to ensure it doesn’t escalate.

This detailed list should include the following people’s contact details:
  • Managers: They make the final decisions and are held accountable; therefore, they need to be involved every step of the way.
  • Journalists: Individuals in the media need to be given factual and correct information to release to the public. This will ensure that your side of the story is being mentioned.
  • Stakeholders: All stakeholders need to be fully informed of the situation so that they can fulfill their parts accordingly. The community manager, for example, must know the full story before they can respond to the public on social media.
It is also advised that the PR pro updates this list on a regular basis, as people might change their contact details and teams, or leave their current place of work.

What have you found to be essential in a crisis management strategy? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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Want to learn more about what it means when consumers cancel a brand? Then be sure to read more on How 'cancel culture' influences crisis communications.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash