Public relations has changed with the times. In the 24-hour news age, PR must not only be proactive but reactive. Fewer companies and organisations may have thought about PR in the past — cordial and respectful relations with traditional and local news outlets may have sufficed, as well as an anticipation that you could ride out negative coverage by keeping communications to a minimum.
Now that communicating is so instant and easy, a crisis or negative coverage can happen at any time. You need to be able to ensure that your company is adequately prepared for such a crisis.
The old aphorism that today’s news is soon forgotten is long gone. Crises, however long they last, are there for all to see on the internet. No company can now afford to tough it out in the hope that it will blow over. Whereas, prior to the digital age, executives could have kept their heads down and hoped for the best, there is no option to do that anymore.
Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin pages of staff and those belonging to the company might be besieged while share prices, commercial arrangements and company standing might all be adversely impacted.
So, what kind of crises can impact on a company?
In our crisis management work we see five types of crisis:
- Financial – such as underperformance, missed payments or mismanagement
- Personnel – usually job losses, strikes/blockades or a serious incident at the company that has involved a member of staff
- Organisation – a takeover that might lead to a period of uncertainty for the employees and the local community, the departure of key staff member(s)
- Technological – a data breach resulting in sensitive data being accessed, customers inability to access services or a product update that has gone wrong
- Natural Crises – pollution caused by the company’s activities or weather events causing an initiative to be cancelled /caused significant damage resulting in reduced operational capacity or closure
If you think about the five categories above, you will easily recall an incident that has happened in Ireland within the last decade that could fit into every category. In many of those cases, lasting damage to the company was lessened or eliminated by engaging a PR crisis team.
Monitor, Plan & Communicate
A mismanaged crisis can impact on your company in many ways in the long term. Hard to find staff might shy away from your company over ethical considerations or a mistaken belief that the company is on shaky ground. Then, your inability to bring in the best people might impact on your ability to effectively compete.
Likewise, the company’s standing in the sector might be adversely impacted and consumers might shy away from purchasing products or services because (again) of a mistaken belief related to the crisis. However, the lesson is; deal with it when it happens and deal with it professionally.
We work with companies all over Ireland when a crisis emerges, and it can be a stressful time for everybody involved. Emotions run high and decision making is often clouded. That is why it makes sense to bring in a professional third party. Our team’s objectivity can help manage the situation to the satisfaction of all concerned, while ensuring that the client company’s interests are represented publicly.
How We Can Help
As a team of journalists with more than 80 years experience combined, Healy Communications can think how a reporter would as a story breaks. That insight is invaluable when formulating a reactive plan.
If you would like to talk to us about our crisis management services or how we might work with your company on public relations projects, then please contact Healy Communications.