For any organization, crisis PR is an important function. The best thing to do, of course, would be to prevent it from happening. In today’s modern communication landscape, a negative review, comment, or article can go viral in minutes and lead to crisis scenarios before an organization can think of a response. Crisis management should handle threats to an organization sequentially. Important issues during a crisis are public safety, financial concerns, and damage to the reputation of an organization. We list below the types of crisis scenarios that an organization needs preparation for.
This type of crisis occurs when an organization wrongs its customers. When this happens, an organization needs to respond immediately and clearly define what action it would take. For instance, in 2018, Starbucks faced a racial discrimination issue. Two black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, were arrested while they were waiting for a friend after a staff member called the cops on them. Social media created uproar, followed by in-store protests. The issue was racial bias.
CEO Kevin Johnson issued a statement stating his position on the matter, calling the act ‘reprehensible’ and wanting it fixed. The response was that Starbucks closed 8,000 stores across the United States so that their staff could receive racial bias training. The brand lost around $12 million in profit when the store shut down briefly. But it was more important for them to repair their relationship with the customers. The act involved sacrifice and went down well with the public.
Each year, approximately 2 million workers across the country report that they have been a victim of violence at work. It costs businesses around $130 billion every year. An organization needs to ensure that its workforce prepares for violence so that it reduces casualties and responds promptly during a violent incident. It is the duty of an organization to keep its workforce on the premises safe. Security measures need implementation.
Fake News and Misinformation
The rise of social media has also led to an increase in information, both real and fake. On social media platforms, people share conspiracy theories and unscientific stories which spread like wildfire. There are also video recordings of people saying and doing things that they never did. This escalates to crisis scenarios when they go on to become more than harmless entertainment and can impact the reputation of an organization. Such content and news should not be left unregulated and should be penalized.
Financial crisis scenarios can be caused by several factors. A recession potentially impacts an organization. Products can lose their popularity and there could be poor management of funds. Institutions such as these it is important to let the public know that an organization is active and will remain so when things improve. An organization must remain connected with its current and potential audiences.
Matt Caiola is Co-CEO of 5WPR, a leading crisis PR firm.