When an organization faces a crisis, it is very important that it is dealt with in a cautious manner, else it might lead to a long-lasting impression in the minds of their consumers and other stakeholders. This is when crisis communication comes in. Crisis communication, a very important function of PR, is aimed at managing the reputation of the organization at the time of a crisis. It defends the organization, or the individual by using effective communication strategies and tools in the eyes of its stakeholders and the general public.
Crisis communication is a function of PR. An organization, or an individual when faced with a crisis, can undergo a lot of harm to their reputation in the eyes of the general public and their stakeholders. Bad management of the crisis will portray them in a bad light. Investors and the general public might get skeptical, and the company can face both financial and goodwill damage. Hence, crisis communication is a very crucial function performed by PR. If a crisis is handled well, it not only improves the reputation of the company in the eyes of the public and the stakeholders, but also attracts more investors, leads to a better reputation in the long term, and even attracts new customers. Being the Best PR agency in Delhi, we understand this well.
Crisis communications in the digital era
Living in the digital era has its own pros and cons. With the power of social media, almost everyone with access to the internet now has a voice. People can easily rally up against something within a click and a comment. They are quick to react if they do not like something, and equally quick if they do. With the advent of the internet, the response time has decreased. Organizations get instant reactions to anything they put out. And if something backfires, it can damage their reputation. A simple tweet can create a lot of backlashes or can have the audience rooting for you in a matter of minutes. Sometimes that backlash can be intense enough that it seems like a crisis. This also means that when faced with something like this, brands need to be quick and provide a response to the audience as early as possible. A delayed response could worsen the situation.
A lot of times we have seen that the message put out by organizations, is interpreted differently than how it was intended. Organizations hence should try to make the message in their communication tools crystal clear and should design a social media strategy beforehand. The internet also makes it impossible to hide anything, especially if you are constantly in the public eye. With social media, in order to avoid a possible crisis, it is better to remain transparent about everything. If you’ve got something to hide, it will be discovered. So be beware, or act accordingly. It is very essential to plan for any such crisis that might occur. Planning ahead of situations like these can not only cut down on the damage done by the crisis, in the minds of all possible stakeholders but also can lead to a better reputation if the response is seen as an adequate one by the consumers. In situations where social media is involved, it can also act like your biggest ally. Hence, a good understanding of the platforms being used by the organization is also very essential.
The message that will be put out when handling a crisis, should be honest. The organization should make sure that they do not deviate from the points raised by the audience, and also should not get too defensive. If an appropriate response hasn’t been prepared yet, the audience should be informed that they are working on this. This is another reason how planning can help in such a situation.
It is important for organizations to keep learning from their experience of social media. Needless to say that there are many new sets of challenges that come along with the many, many good things that social media and the internet have to offer. Still, the fundamentals of crisis communication remain the same, no matter how big or small the blunder is. Carefully evaluate, respond, and try to stay transparent.