Help...we're In Crisis

Issue 20

Over the years this has been said to us at JAM Marketing many times, and we have had to deal with an array of different reasons why company owners and in some cases individuals, think they are in crisis. 

When a company or individual calls a marketing/PR company when they are in crisis, it is usually something that could affect the way the business or them personally is perceived and can often have devastating effects on a company and a person.

That said, a competently managed crisis management situation can often turn a negative spout of press into positive and can actually build customer loyalty if handled correctly.

Over the years I’ve personally been in marketing, I have dealt with death of a staff member, oil leaks down the Tyne, nightmare neighbours on TV programmes, food poisoning on a large scale and a suspected rape to name a few of the more serious ones. None can really be prepared for, but a crisis management action plan can certainly help.

Although it is practically impossible to prepare for every crisis management situation, it does help immensely if there is a plan in place to counteract negative press if the worst does happen.  That is why we advise our clients to have such a thing written up and easily accessible should they need it in an emergency.  Although we only ever deal with the PR/marketing side of crisis management plans, it is important to have procedures in place that cover all aspects of what would happen if there was an emergency in the company that could affect trading, so this is just one aspect of what a business needs.

The marketing/PR business manual should contain the following in order to ensure that any negative publicity is kept to a minimum:

A list of the possible events that could possibly be cause for crisis management steps to be put in place.

A plan of how you will deal with a crisis and the names of the members of staff that would be the first point of call to handle the situation and take control.

A business continuity plan also needs to be written up should the crisis be such that there is a real possibility that the effects of the negative publicity could be prevented.

Completely up to date contact telephone numbers of all people involved in carrying out the plan. This should include external companies involved too and they must all be individually made aware that they are included in this manual. 

More importantly, the manual, once written up should be kept securely where it can be easily found. It’s no use locking it up in a safe if there is only one person that has a key to it and they are sunning themselves in the south of France!

From a marketing/PR point of view, should a crisis arise, a good company will advise you, write up media statements, front the press if requested to do so, be prepared to hold meetings with key members of staff, speak to journalists either face to face or on the phone and in some cases act as a mediator with all concerned in order to resolve the situation with as little negative publicity as possible for the individual or company.  As with anything though, we can only advise as PR/marketing experts, we can’t force a client to take the advice given.  As the saying goes you can take a horse to water, you can’t force it to drink, but for the most cases I have dealt with, our advice has been followed and the clients have always been satisfied with the outcomes.

So, what to do if you want to prepare for a crisis management situation within the PR/marketing sectors? Call the experts, of course. We’re fully trained and competent in dealing with any negative publicity that is thrown your way and will do everything in our power to keep your good name being turned bad.

Unfortunately it takes a life-time to build a good reputation and only seconds to destroy it.  Even people in our industry can come un-stuck and are in need of crisis management themselves.  Not naming names, but when this happens it never ceases to amaze me how unprofessional some people deal with what is happening to them, literally not taking their own advice. But I suppose we are all only human after all, so mistakes happen.  That said, I would hope that should my company ever have to deal with a crisis, for us as a business that it would be dealt with dignity and respect to all involved.

Bye for now – Jak

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.