There are a number of different ways to keep the media away from your bad news and protect your reputation but before we come up with a strategy it’s essential to set out a Plan B so you’re prepared if the media DO come knocking, despite your best efforts .
It may well be that with some expert crisis communications advice you keep the story away from the press initially but if your crisis comms plan is not robust and regularly reviewed the story will come out later which can be even more damaging to your business.
In such a scenario we will help you assess the dangers because in some circumstances we may advise taking the pain now rather than letting it spiral out of control at a later date. On the other hand depending on the nature of the crisis we may be better working on the issue and trying to manage the flow of information to the media and public at a later date.
Each situation is different and it’s important to recognise at an early stage the stress points in your crisis plan of attack.
A time delay may well help you actually solve the problems at the eye of the storm but you’ll need to have a credible response if and when you do have to account for the delay in relaying the critical information.
So you need to work out your messaging priorities for internal staff, stakeholders, customers and the media as soon as your team is able to do so.
If you’re in the very early stages of a crisis or near-crisis you will hopefully have spoken to your stakeholders and assured them that you are on top of the situation and have a assembled a crack team to manage the issue(s) at the heart of the problem and are constantly monitoring the media via either your in-house team or a crisis communications consultant.
Seeing the wood from the trees
A fresh pair of eyes and ears on a growing crisis can spot important – and often screamingly obvious stuff – that someone too near the issue may have ignored.
This is where we can help – trusted, experienced support that will ask the difficult questions of the key decision-makers – which is sometimes difficult for the in-house team to do.
If you haven’t got a crisis communications plan we will help you come up with one or we will review your current plan to make sure it’s robust and fit for purpose.
If necessary we will sense check your plans via our intensive mock news workshops so that even if the story of your crisis is kept away from the press your team will have learned a crucial lesson should a more serious situation emerge in the future.