According to a recent study, 79% of business decision-makers across the globe expect to experience a crisis within the next year – only half of those people said that their company currently has a crisis communications plan. There are ways to reduce your risk of falling victim to a crisis – the first is knowing the three Ps.
Before you make a big announcement or decision it is essential that you prepare for and consider the worst-case scenario. While not everything will spark a controversy, there are certain topics that are more likely than others to trigger an emotional reaction (topics like veterans, family planning, animal welfare, fundamental rights, etc.).
If you’re concerned that a decision or a policy will be unpopular with your audience, do the necessary research and preparation before making a public statement. If you’re anticipating negative feedback, consider investing in focus groups or surveys to gauge consumer reactions ahead of time.
Not every announcement merits research, but if your announcement relates to the three P’s, it may be worth doing some additional investigation:
- Policy. Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood was policy driven. Many crises erupt after organizations announce unpopular policies that strike a nerve with consumers.
- Perception. Are you changing your brand or positioning strategy? Consider conducting a focus group or doing qualitative research first. Last year, Gap experienced a Flash Crisis after the company changed its logo, and enraged consumers slammed the design on social media.
- Procedures. If your organization is making a procedural change that will affect your constituents, get some opinions before going public. Remember all the uproar after Netflix changed its streaming service?
When it comes to handling a PR crisis, organizations need to make sure they prepare ahead of time. This will save headaches, panic, and money down the road.
One way to make sure you are prepared is to take Epic PR Group’s PR Heat Index quiz. The PR Heat Index will help you decide if your company is prepared to handle a crisis situation. After taking the quiz you will receive a detailed breakdown of your score that can help spark a meaningful conversation about crisis management.