Specialised in leadership communication, crisis and reputation management , Radu has consulted leaders and boards from different industries: capital markets, logistics, IT, HR, food, education, fintech or gambling.
The truth about PR crises
We all know what a PR crisis is, but just a couple of leaders understand that a crisis can hit them, no matter the position, the size of the company, or … the truth. But a crisis can ruin reputations and destroy careers.
The truth is a funny part. Many leaders are under the impression that they don’t need a Crisis Management strategy if the crisis is based on lies. The problem is that perception is reality. So, a crisis can ruin your reputation , truth is optional.
Starting from this point of view, I realised leaders fail to understand or accept some important ideas about PR crises.
First and, maybe, the most important is that a crisis can strike anytime.
There is no need for a special context. A PR crisis can strike anytime, mostly because of the big number of factors. Your competition can create something, a bad decision, an upset client, a law, a natural disaster, a virus, and the list can continue. So, the first step is to understand this incredibly important idea: a crisis can hit you at any moment.
Leaders fail to understand that the internet is a really big threat.
They need to understand that a crisis will affect their reputation and can destroy their professional advancement.
So, once accepting this, some steps need to be done:
- Try and anticipate what could go wrong. Make a list of the top 10 PR crises that can strike your company. Look for the competition, work with a consultant, find similar crises. You have options. I can’t stress you enough how important is this step.
- With this list in mind, take a look at what you can change right now. What decisions will help you prevent PR crises? What can you do that will help you avoid a PR disaster? For instance, if your business area is very sensitive and you need a lot of credibilities, try and analyse everything from this point of view. Is my marketing credible? Ok, I make money, but am I credible in the long term? Because I am sure you want to have a long professional life. And a crisis can destroy your reputation and your professional ascending.
- In the end, you need plans to react in case a crisis strikes. Speed matters, so you will need to know what to do in the first hours. After, I recommend working with a consultant, but it’s extremely important to know how to deal with the start of the crisis.
Second, leaders fail to understand that the internet is a really big threat.
Back in the days, just mass media was talking about a crisis in newspapers or tv shows. It was easier because a journalist goes fast from a story to another. Now, with the internet, everything sticks there. The information doesn’t disappear. You can find bad news from a year ago. So with a simple google search, everyone could see your reputation record.
At the same time, with Social Media, everyone can create a crisis. A couple of stories, photos, and some good messages and..boom..you are in a crisis.
You, as a leader, need to understand that a crisis will affect your reputation and can destroy your professional ascending. If you are an executive, the company will manage to deal with the crisis, but you won’t. It’s a common practice for a corporation to fire its CEO.
If you are an entrepreneur, trust me, your business could go down. I’ve seen it, so I am not talking about books.
So, next time when you think to ignore preparedness or manage a crisis, please think twice. There is a huge chance your reputation will be destroyed, without anything else to do.
In the end, PR crises are part of our business or political life. We can choose to ignore it, but trust me…this would be a bad decision.
We have to accept that a crisis can strike anytime and can destroy our professional life. We need to understand that people pay more and more attention to gossips and bad news. So simple bad news can create damages.
We need to understand that a crisis can be “silent”. Not all the crises are public, with press coverage. Some go inside a company or group. These crises can be as strong as the public ones.
We need to understand that perception matters.