Panic, panic, panic. Once it starts it’s often too late to stop it or even calm it down. We’ve all been there: something goes awfully wrong and you’re gripped by that knotting feeling in your stomach, which is quickly replaced by cold sweating palms and then you’re in a spin.
Corporate panic is just the same, ashen faces stare as phones ring off the hook as bad news breaks and the press take hold while the public fume, flee or both.
Which is why it’s never too late to consider panic. In fact, panic should be considered almost every time you look at your public relations strategy, as it’s a fact of life that the floodgates of disaster will always open at the most inopportune moments. It’s in these moments that most businesses find they’re ill-prepared to cope with the influx of attention.
A crisis management strategy is the air-bag for your brand, it’s designed to cushion impact and slow the rate of the disaster. Although it does this through a mixture of disciplines; the most essential element is often the simplest to arrange: preparation.
Preparation is critical, from the simplest things like a list of emergency staff phone numbers, to the most complex scenario planning, every bit of preparation you do is one step closer to effectively managing the worst if it does happen.
It’s astounding how many times I’ve been approached throughout my professional life by companies in trouble asking for help which they might have been able to fix themselves if they hadn’t let things spiral out of control.
If you can’t think of a reason why you should do the basics, or even get someone in to do the basics for you, think about this – how long could your business survive after a period of severe weather?
Would your supply chain mean that you could supply your customers as promised on time, and if you couldn’t, how long would they hold off before dumping your products publicly?
What about if your product or service was cast in a bad light by an article in the press (deservedly or not!) or your product or service were caught up in a safety scare or were accused of being misleading or even fraudulent?
Whether it’s putting the facts straight or smoothing the waters with apologies and positive campaigning, getting your prep work done early will cost you virtually nothing, and could save your whole brand – and when you’ve worked so hard to establish a good name, why put it at risk by being ill-prepared?