Saturday, 14 March 2009

When things go wrong!

When things go wrong in a company one needs to be thinking about how it affects the reputations of the organisation and what to do. First of all think about what the crisis is and then what might happen. Don't forget the 5Ws of Who to talk to, What about, Why and When, and How to approach the situation.

Ainsworth Maguire which deals with PR programmes in UK and Ireland has set out below some free tips and explained how to handle a crisis.

Ten things to do:
1. Get the facts -- know what happened rather than speculate.
2. Be honest in relaying the known facts openly -- If some facts have not been established explain what you are doing about it. Don't lie.
3. Show humanity and concern for any injured or aggrieved parties -- Before making any public announcements, ensure relatives and those directly concerned are informed.
4. Offer practical help if you can -- Lawyers may argue that to offer money to an injured party is to admit guilt. But to show concern is a sign of humanity.
5. Co-operate with regulatory authorities or investigators --They are doing their job and being obstructive will be interpreted as 'something to hide'.
6. Have a senior person as your authoritative spokesperson -- The person is briefed continuously and sticks to one consistent message.
7. Brief all stakeholders -- Employees and unions, shareholders, investors and brokers, trade bodies, the community, the media will all need to know the facts as soon as is possible.
8. Have a dossier of relevant facts to hand that could support your case -- Health and safety records, training practices, quality systems and accreditation's, test reports and so on can help refute any early claims of negligence.
9. Issue regular updates as more facts emerge - Inform media on when to expect updates on information available.
10. Monitor the media and the web -- It will help you see how the issue is being discussed.

Reference: Ainsworth Maguire, Public Relations - Free PR: Advice and Tips. [online]:Available from [Accessed 13 March 2009]

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