Legal PR blog

Crisis management PR: The basics

Every business owner and Managing Partner hopes it will never happen to them, but when it does, efforts to limit the impact of a potentially damaging issue must be considered from a communications and crisis management PR perspective.

When a media crisis hits your firm, will you be prepared?
When a media crisis hits your firm, will you be prepared?

An absence of facts creates difficulties for even the most experienced PR advisor to effectively manage a sensitive and potentially controversial issue. When a key member of staff leaves or a breach of conduct leaks to the press, one of the first calls should be made to a communications advisor to ensure they are fully briefed and can begin working on a strategy.

Your firm should already have at least a skeleton disaster communications plan in place so that a first response can be formulated and released quickly.
Sticking your head in the sand is never a good idea. It won’t be long before customers, suppliers and even employees begin to speculate, and with social media adding fuel to the fire, the situation can quickly escalate.
When a crisis does happen, businesses that have invested in media training for their key spokespeople will be one step ahead.

Crisis management – the basics

  • Journalists should have a single port of call to ensure all messages are communicated consistently.
  • All members of staff, from reception and switchboard through to the CEO or managing partner, should be briefed on where to direct press calls.
  • You must be clear about who is authorised to speak with the media
  • Never answer ad hoc questions.

By preparing for a variety of scenarios, implementing and rehearsing the basic processes and procedures, organisations can to some extent ensure that when difficult situations arise, they remain one step ahead. The word ‘spin’ is the darling of corporates when things go wrong but being honest and as far as possible open about what has happened is by far the best option.

Our senior media team is experienced in managing a range of sensitive issues. Of course we can’t showcase them here but if you give us a call we will be happy to provide you with examples.

Post by: Ralph Savage / Website:
A business journalist by trade, Ralph Savage represents a series of B2B clients on media and marketing matters. He provides strategic PR advice, media training and consultancy. He also ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, accountants and brokers.