If there’s one thing every business professional fears, it’s a PR disaster. Good PR is integral to the performance of your business and whether or not it will stand the test of time. One little slip-up – even one that seems minor at the time – can easily cost you your entire life’s work, and no business professional wants to watch everything they have built crash and burn. Part of the issue with a PR disaster is that the public and the media love to complain. Bad news tends to do the rounds a lot more than good news, simply because human beings are naturally voyeuristic when it comes to the misfortunes of others. That said, even if you do encounter an issue in your business that looks set to kick off in a very public manner, there are things you can do to save face and ultimately get your business back on track.
This might appear like a pretty rich thing to say when the reputation of your business is hanging by a thread – but do try to stay calm. In times of crisis, your team will be looking to you to lead by example. The second you lose control of your composure, all hell can easily break loose. If you need to, take a few moments to gather yourself alone in your office. Breathe deeply and try to regain your thoughts before you address anyone, be it staff or members of the public. Your train of thought will most likely be pretty erratic at a time like this, and so thinking before you speak has never been so important. Plus, try and look at the situation objectively – is this such a disaster, or is it instead an opportunity for you to test and change your business for the better?
Be careful when dealing with the press
The media love a sensationalist story – so if your story has gone public, be aware that they will probably try and make it as dramatic as possible in order to gather the most readers. You may have to address the press sooner rather than later if you are being hounded, but first, take the time to put together a professional statement – you may even want to speak to your lawyer at this point if the matter is serious. Here is how to avoid those pesky question from the media, so you can come away from any interviews with your integrity intact.
Acknowledge, and move on
If you were at fault in the situation, avoidance will get you nowhere. Issue a public apology (a real one) and then swiftly move on to repairing your reputation. Sure, you might have experienced some bad PR, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take everyone’s minds off it with some good PR as well. Gather your strongest marketing team around you and make a point of coming with a new, creative campaign that will shed some positive light on your business.