The Pitch Episode 143: Get Ahead of a PR Snowstorm
Did someone call asking you to boycott the NBJ Summit? Learn how to develop a protocol to follow during an unexpected communications crisis.
Get Ahead of a PR Snowstorm
The Me Too Movement or any organized movement for that matter, can create a public relations snowstorm if you aren’t prepared and don’t get out in front of it right away. If you or your organization is being aggressively attacked for unfounded reasons, chances are you aren’t the only one who knows about it. Before you sit back during the onslaught of a PR snowstorm, acknowledge, reinforce and reassure the truth. This recently happened to a media organization I’m involved with that puts on one of the most influential natural health conferences in the country. It turns out that one of their executive-level business conferences that my company actually helps sponsor came under attack because the venue where the event is held is being accused of a Me Too violation with hotel staff. The supporters of the employees went on the attack to call every sponsor and attendee of the conference asking them to cancel their sponsorship and boycott the conference entirely. What a mess for this media organization that has nothing to do with the alleged Me Too allegations of the resort and is only five months out from their conference that has been planned years in advance. But they acted quickly, met with the resort’s executives and sent out a communication to sponsors and attendees about the facts of the allegation along with links on the resort’s position and what conference organizers were doing to actively monitor the situation to ensure a peaceful conference for all attendees. “The Pitch” challenge today: Get a crisis plan in place for a variety of attacks your organization could fall victim to. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do a full crisis communications plan, at minimum develop a basic protocol to follow in the event of an emergency. In the same way you would have a must-do list for a hurricane, tornado or snowstorm, Create this same proactive plan for your business. It might include a list of who is in charge to make executive decisions, without having to get majority approval, so you can move quickly. It may also include who your front person will be to deliver the message to your customers. And you may also indicate the speed at which the first communication must go out, once the company is aware of the problem. This will keep your PR protocol from getting caught up and dragged out in legal. Always be transparent and honest about the situation and the steps you are taking. By making decisions early and getting ahead of the next PR snowstorm, you’ll feel more in control when it hits.
What next three crises could you predict, in your near future, based on what’s happening in the world right now?
What can you do now to prepare for your next potential crisis, either personal or at work?