Deidra Langstaff on Effectively Handling a Crisis with a Crisis PR Plan

Deidra Langstaff

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Deidra Langstaff of Langstaff Marketing in Albany shares some integral tips on preparing for crisis PR and it begins with preparing now.


Hi, I'm Deidra Langstaff with Langstaff Marketing and today I'd like to talk to you a little bit about crisis PR. At some point in time, whether you're a small business or a large business, you are going to experience some negative publicity. Everyone is going to go through a crisis PR situation and I want to give you a few tips to help you get through it. The first thing, and the most important thing, is be prepared. You need to start now with your crisis PR plan. That would include letting employees know who can talk to the media, who can't talk to the media, how you handle situations when talking to the public if you were at the front desk, if you're the receptionist. Those are the things that would be involved in a crisis PR plan.

And this is probably one of those things that you would want a professional to handle for you, but there are plenty of great books out there that will walk you through it just to give you a plan. If you do that you're going to be one step ahead of the situation, because at that time when you are going through a really hard time things are going to be very stressful and at least having this plan is going to keep you on the right track.

The second thing, and this is very, very important is you need to be as transparent as possible. You hear that. That's a big buzz word now is transparency, transparency but it's very true. Be as transparent as possible.

Now there will be times in the situation, because of some sort of legality or because you are dealing with employees, you've got some privacy issues that you may not be able to tell the entire truth and may not be able to be completely transparent but always strive for that. And you want to go ahead and put it out there as soon as possible.

That should be your third tip is to get the information out there quickly. Don't wait around and have the negative publicity following you around and finally releasing the information two or three months down the road.

Everybody will have their five minutes of fame. Or in this case, five minutes of bad publicity. But once it's done, once it's out there, you get the opportunity to actually fix it. And that's what a lot of companies don't realize. You have a chance to make good on something that has possibly gone wrong.

So, like I said, just to review, make sure you have a media plan, a crisis PR plan in place. Make sure you're being very transparent and go ahead and get it out there very quickly. And remember, most importantly, that marketing is everything and everything is marketing.

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