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Crisis Communications: Choose Your Own Adventure Public Demise

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Jake Miller

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So it turns out, not EVERY public relations pro enjoys handling a good old fashioned crisis. Maybe it’s the stress. Or uncertainty. Hell, maybe it’s the potential business-killing snafu that lurks around every corner.

I get it; none of that sounds like stuff you want on your plate. But that’s no reason to be ill prepared when it comes to crisis communications. It’s critical to have a plan for how to handle issues before they get out of control.

With that in mind, we decided to create a fun little crisis – based on experience as reporters, in-house PR pros and as agency staffers – for you to navigate without having to worry about actually ruining your company’s reputation. Just hit “Play Now,” to get started.


Keeping small crises small

Here’s the thing: Most issues don’t stem from BP Oil spills or ignorant company execs like LuluLemon founder Chip Wilson. Those are epic.

It’s the dozens of issues companies manage daily such as layoffs, employees’ legal issues and acquisitions that give most of us PR pros ulcers. You know, the stuff our operations colleagues say is “just business.”

I’ve repeatedly seen company leaders and communications teams make early missteps surrounding these types of issues. Consistently it boils down to several common issues causing problems.

4 crisis communications mistakes to avoid

The reason for these public gaffes, 90 percent of the time, is caused by one or more of these four common mistakes:

  1. Forgetting Choosing not to communicate effectively with your employees first.
  2. Telling yourself the news won’t leak.
  3. Opting to react to employee/reporter inquiries rather than controlling the message.
  4. A lack of honesty.

Of course, crisis communications is more nuanced than stated here, with countless variables that can change outcomes and public perception in a matter of minutes.

So, for those of you who want more detailed crisis communications strategy, watch our blog; we’ll be posting more tips and tricks for managing the messes companies will continue to make.

Jake Miller

Could talk for hours about the intricacies of Waffle House.

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