Publicists relish consumer PR – pitching the hottest new restaurant, trend or event to hit the market is certainly has its perks. Clients put a premium on proactive PR that raises awareness, highlights their business and drives their bottom line. However, some of the most important PR a company will ever engage in usually falls on the heels of a tragedy. No matter what business segment your company operates in, there will always be instances where unfortunate incidents occur and crisis management needs to kick in. a crisis situation ensues.
In Rhode Island, a beloved and iconic restaurant recently experienced a very public norovirus outbreak. While it was ultimately determined that a sick patron spread the virus while on property, initial media coverage was swift and widespread – surpassing local and regional coverage to include international press. On the heels of the Chipotle norovirus issues, media is particularly keen to cover this type of storyline.
We stepped in to provide crisis management and to act as the media conduit for information. Within a matter of days, the storyline had shifted and consumer sentiment was strongly behind the restaurant as we were able to divulge the facts surrounding the spread of this highly-contagious virus. However, at the advent of the crisis, when the restaurant was most vulnerable and the storylines were still forming, they had no crisis plan and no PR firm of record.
In a serious crisis, professional public relations help is critical. While the price tag for this type of PR is high, being able to effectively manage through a crisis is priceless. The resulting damage to a business or brand is often irreparable.
Top 3 Tips for Effective Crisis Management
- Plan ahead! Interview area PR firms who specialize in crisis PR and foster a relationship so that you are ready to engage them should a crisis occur.
- Schedule crisis management training. Many PR firms offer a half and full-day training session to walk management through the steps of effectively handling a crisis.
- Engage a PR firm to create a tailored crisis management plan for your company. While this can be costly, it will pay for itself should it be necessary.
-Lisa Doucet-Albert, Senior Vice President
Regan Communications Group – Providence