Have you ever heard the phrase ‘any press is good press‘? Or maybe even ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity‘?
At Carnsight, we love debunking PR myths and this is definitely one of them.
We’re living in the 21st century. News spreads like wildfire, especially bad news, cancel culture is rife, social media takedowns happen daily and people care more and more about the ethical and moral values and standpoints of the businesses they support.
We say this not to scare you, but to make you aware.
Negative news can cause businesses a lot of damage, especially in an age where it’s easy to lose control of a situation and end up on the trending page of Twitter. And a digital footprint can last a lot longer than a printed page.
Ending up in a PR crisis isn’t the be-all and end-all; in fact, if you have a strong PR team and clear and compassionate communication, you’re well set up. That being said, in an ideal world, you don’t want to have to go down that route.
Avoiding a PR Crisis
It goes without saying that avoiding getting into a PR crisis at all should be the aim and if you’re lucky you won’t have to worry too much about even that. However, it’s always good to have a plan if troubles arise and know exactly how to avoid any potholes in the road.
Think Before You Speak
This might sound like rather obvious advice but I think we could all use a reminder every now and then. Ensure this is an established rule throughout the business and that everyone understands the implications of a knee-jerk reaction or poorly thought out statement.
Understand that this also extends to social media. In fact, espeically social media. Think before you tweet!
And I’m not just talking about on your business account but also your personal. You represent the business and its values. Make sure you’re representing it well.
There’s no such thing as ‘off the record’
Similarly, it’s important to remember that when speaking to a journalist or publication, there is no such thing as saying something ‘off the record’.
I’m not for a second suggesting that all journalists are out there trying to catch you out and take things you said out of context, but it’s important to be aware that when you agree to an interview with a journalist, you’re agreeing to provide them with printable material.
There are no ‘take-backs’. If you make an insensitive flippant comment in an interview there’s absolutely no reason why the journalist shouldn’t be allowed to take what you said and put it in print.
You will always be accountable for your words and actions. ‘Off the record’ is off the table.
Learn more about journalist interviews here.
Implement rules and guidelines for content
Perhaps your rules are to say nothing political or perhaps it’s nothing religious. Whatever they may be, it’s important to have them and make sure they are understood throughout the business. What topics are off limits and what topics are encouraged? This isn’t about hiding anything or surprising opinions, it’s about realising that within a business there will be varying personalities and ideologies and ideals, and despite this, all business content must be unified and consistent with the company values.
Invest in good PR
Like Carnsight Communications! But seriously, while this might seem self-serving, investing in good PR is the best way to avoid any mishaps. PRs know how to bring out the best in your business and how to highlight it to the world. PRs know how to monitor public opinion and how to read the mood of the nation.
Good PR can be trusted.
And this isn’t about hiring a PR to sweep anything under the rug. We certainly don’t do that at Carnsight. We simply draw attention to the wonderful things about your business and know how to respond if something should go awry.
PR is about celebrating the best bits and showing the world what your business can offer.
To read more about crisis communications check out our blog on creating a crisis communication plan.