Crisis Public Relations:How to deal with?Universitas Kristen Indonesia,November 16, 2011Firsan NovaPR Strategist,Bostonprice Asia &In-Line Performa Asia Consulting
Crisis• Your rector wake up in the morning, readnews paper and news paper head line saidthat someone killed/injured/broke the law inUniversity Area. What he/her can do?– Act quickly and take punishment
Crisis Facts• Corporate spokespersons beware: many Americans dontbelieve everything you say in the heat of a crisis--even ifyou are telling the truth.• In fact, corporate spokespersons are perceived by thepublic as the "least believable" sources of informationabout corporate crises, a recent survey found.• Most companies dont effectively communicate their sideof the story when a crisis strikes. Many Americans, thesurvey found, are upset about how companies respond tocrises. (Porter/Novelli)• Consumers have a keen memory of past crises and oftendont trust what they hear from companies about negativeevents.“ (Bob Druckenmiller)
Crisis factsThe survey asked 1,000 people to recall recent crises and probed their feelings and reactionson how companies and the media handled these situations.• 75% respondents say companies refuse to take responsibility for crises.• Only 19% feel companies are totally truthful in a crisis situation.• More than half (57%) believe companies either withhold negative information, or worseyet, lie.• 95% said they are more offended about a company lying about a crisis than about theactual crisis itself.• 65% of respondents feel that declining to comment always implies guilt.• The public finds journalists more trustworthy than business executives, but finds neitherto be believable. Only 23% trust journalists in a crisis; only 9% trust company executives.• Corporate crises have a lasting impact on consumers and affect their intent to purchase acompanys products.• The public is critical of the medias handling of corporate crises.• Almost nine out of 10 (89%) Americans say the media blow crisis events out of proportion.• When asked to describe how the media react to a crisis, 57% said "like vultures circling forthe kill;" 24% said "like a pack of wild dogs;" 16% said "as neutral observers reporting thefacts;" and 2% said "like cavalry to the rescue."• TV is the most believable source of information, said 34% of the respondents. TV wasfollowed by newspapers (29%), magazines (22%), and radio (12%).
What is a crisis?• Crisis is any event that jeopardizes or harmsyour image, reputation, or financial stability.• The key here is potential impact. How badlycan you or your institution be hurt?• The more serious the potential harm, thegreater the crisis
The nature of Crisis• Crisis is cost of life• Most small businesses think that “Crisis ” is theconcern of only Fortune 500 companies, but acrisis can strike any organizations at any time.• If u think that your tiny business, out of publiceye, is invulnerable to a crisis, you’re wrong.Smaller businesses, which often rely on one ortwo key customer, can lose that business at thedrop of a hat. For this seasons, you should planfor any possible crisis that could occur.
In business there are three maintypes of crisis :1. Financial crisis – short term liquidity or cash flowproblems; and long term bankruptcy problems.2. Public relations crisis – More commonly called“crisis communications”, negative publicity thatcould adversely affect the success of thecompany.3. Strategic crisis – changes in the businessenvironment that call the viability of thecompany into question.
Potential crisis situations– Public health (for example, a cancer causing products– Safety and security issues– Financial and business issues– Environmental issues– Disasters (product tampering, service outages)– Business practices and ethics– Worker misconduct– Legal issues Accident and disaster (driver accidents,crashes, fires, building collapses)– False advertising– Customer complaints– Out of stock products
1.Pre-Crisis Stage2.Warning3.Acute Crisis4.Clean-Up5.Post-CrisisCrisis Life Cycles
Crisis Rules for leader#1 Your chief communications leader – the personresponsible for managing the chaos should it occur –the president, agency head or nonprofit CEO musthave full confidence in your crisis abilities, and youmust have 24/7 direct access to the boss.#2 As the chief media/PR/marketing team leader inhigher education, an independent school,government agency, or nonprofit association, yourjob is to build, strengthen, nurture, and protect theinstitution’s image and reputation.#3 In time of crisis, you have a moral obligation tocommunicate quickly and effectively with keyaudiences.
• A public is any group that has an actual orpotential interest in or impact on a company’sability to achieve its objectives• Communication strategic begin on know yourpublic (stakeholder) and prepare yourcommunication method after then• Every public is unique and require differencecommunicartion methodUnderstanding the public
Considering the wide range of crisis situations that mayoccur in an organization, there consequently needsto be separate responses from different groups ofpeople. These groups are primarily:1. The operational people, who are responsible forkeeping the disruption under control.2. The top management people, who are responsiblefor allocating resources and for making criticaldecisions needed to resolve the situation.3. The communications people, who are responsible formaking sure that those who need to know areinformed initially and are kept informed until thecrisis is resolved.Who are responsible?
1. The corporation in crisis should be prompt, addressingthe public immediately following the discovery of thecrisis2. The corporation in question should maintain honestybecause the public is more willing to forgive an honestmistake than a calculated lie.3. It is important to be informative because the media aswell as the public will create their own rumors if noinformation given to them.4. It is important to be concerned and show the publicyou care, because people will be more forgiving if it isclear that the corporation cares about the victims ofthe crisis.5. Maintain two-way relationship. Corporation can learn alot about the status of public opinion.How to manage crisis properly
1. School can attack the accuser attempting toeliminate the attacker’s credibility.2. School can use denial claiming that no crisis exists.3. The third response is justification where the schoolclaims no serious damage was done or that thevictim was at fault.4. The school can use ingratiation to appease thepublics, such as giving away coupons.5. School can use corrective action to right theirwrongs.6. School can give a full apology asking for forgivenessfor their mistake6 responses to crisis
• School spokes person job is to make sure that:– The company responds promptly to unflatteringmedia report or controversies– Gets its side of the story• The basic tools communication officer include:– News releases, news letter, press conference,tours of plants & other company facilities, articlesin trade or professional journals, companypublication & brochures, TV & radio talk showappearances by company personnel, specialevents & the internetThe function of communicationofficer?
When crisis hits, the organization must assess its communications–particularly in evaluating media requests-- by answering thefollowing questions:1. What do we gain by participating?2. What are the risk?3. Can we get our message across?4. Is this audience worth it?5. How will management react?6. Is there a better way?
Growth of risk communication• Models of risk communication have been developed based onthe position that “perception is reality”.• Risk communication deals with a high level of emotion. Fear,confusion, frustration, and anger are common feelings indealing with environmental issues• Therefore, frequent and forceful communication is necessaryto inform, educate, and even dampen emotion.• The first rule in responding to a perceived public risk is to takethe matter seriously.
The key communications in dealingwith a crisis (cont’d)• In saying nothing, an organization leader is perceived asalready having made a decision.• When most people –upward of 65% -hear the words “nocomment” they perceive the no commenter as guilty• Silence anger the public and media and then compounds theproblem• On the other hand, inexperienced spokespersons, speculatingnervously or using emotionally charged language, are evenworse• Most public relations professional consider the cardinal rulefor communications during a crisis to be: TELL IT ALL AND TELLIT FAST!• As a general rule, when information gets out quickly, rumorsare stopped and nerves are calmed
A shorthand approach to communicating in crisiswould include the following 10 general principles1. Speak first and often2. Don’t speculate3. Go off the record at your own peril4. Stay with the facts5. Be open, concerned, not defensive6. Make your point and repeat it7. Don’t war with the media8. Establish yourself as the most authoritative source9. Stay calm, be truthful and cooperative10. Never lie