Crisis management in public relations

When Skeletons Make Their Way Out of the Closet

How to do reputation management for individuals and businesses in times of crisis; 

We are nearly halfway through this year, and it is already evident that one of the central themes has to be notable figures’ skeletons making their way out of the closet.

From celebrities, to CEOs, to sports athletes, notable figures throughout society had moments from their past exposed.

Whether it is years-old Tweets, long-ago published blogs, or pictures shared with an old colleague so long ago you can hardly remember their name, one thing is clear: the past doesn’t stay in the past

So, what should brands, companies, and public figures do?

Well, here a few tips on what to expect from the unexpected…

It’s never too early to prep

A well-trained employee is a prepared employee.

Companies should consider media training for all executives and above as a way to ensure readiness in case of a crisis.

This will mitigate the chaos and help the company respond in a more efficient and effective manner.

“No comment” is a no go

Imagine you arrive home late, and when your spouse asks where you’ve been, you respond with, No comment.”

If it wouldn’t work at home, it won’t work in public.

While “No comment” may appear on the surface as strategical, it is essentially perceived as an admission of guilt.

Take it on the chin

There is a propensity for CEOs, executives, and public figures to fight against the crisis and swim against the public current.

While there is validity in claiming innocence, it is important to remember the timing of this message.

If the public suspects something about your company, it is imperative that you appear humble and willing to listen.

If the public doesn’t feel it is being heard, it will come across as you don’t care.

Ignorance is for the ignoramus

“I had no idea.”

Time and again, we have heard companies attempt to position themselves as completely unaware of the issue.

This is completely unacceptable!

If you are the CEO or executive of your company, it is expected that you are entrenched with the brand, from the bottom to the top.

And sure, you will not be involved in every decision. Yet, that doesn’t matter.

As a figurehead of the company, for all intents and purposes, you are the company.

Spin solutions

Everyone makes mistakes. And usually it is not necessarily the mistake that harms the company, it’s the response.

So, when a crisis occurs, it is important to promote a solution for it.

Regardless of the problem, options must be presented to not only fix it but ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR. 5W Public Relations is a NYC headquartered PR Agency.

This page was last edited on June 18, 2019.