I hope that your company never finds itself in a major crisis, but in the event that it does happen, I can’t stress enough the importance of handling yourself correctly during press conferences and interviews.
At Ripley PR, we encourage all of our clients to go through media training in preparation for a crisis. We take a “hope for the best, expect the worst” approach to potential crises – you never know when they might arise, so it’s best to take some time well in advance to learn best practice for handling the worst-case scenarios that might confront you.
Perhaps you’re thinking that as a business-to-business company, you’re less likely to face a crisis than a consumer-targeted company might. Sure, you might not have a massive credit card breach like some retailers have or employees posting negatively about your company on their personal social media profiles. But there might still be an accident connected to the manufacturing or transport of your products. Or, another company in your industry could have a crisis, and it could reflect badly on the whole field, even if your company had nothing to do with the situation. So even in the B2B world, your products and services will eventually reach the public in some capacity, and it’s important to have crisis communications as a part of your B2B public relations plan.
When a crisis does arise, your company executives will be the face of the business, handling press conferences and interviews. And how they handle it from the get-go will shape how the media and the public view your company.
In the initial stages of a crisis, it’s important for a company spokesperson not to get flustered. The more composed and competent you can be in dealing with the media, the better. Even if you don’t know a lot of details about the situation, express yourself with confidence.
Credibility plays a huge role here as well. Was your company involved in an environmental disaster? Own up to your role in it – don’t try to create a nonexistent “big picture scenario” – the public will see right through it and won’t respect you.
Reporters, readers, and viewers will judge your attitude in the wake of a crisis as well. Don’t show indifference toward any victims impacted by the disaster, or focus only on how it affects you personally and your company. Be accountable and responsible – commit to regular communication as things develop, as well as to doing whatever it takes to solve the problem. In the long run, it will earn you more respect.
Ripley PR provides crisis training for all our clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you handle any situation gracefully.