Spinning out your expenses - how to handle a PR crisis
Posted Friday, May 15th, 2009 by Neil EdwardsMost of us are, of course, scandalised by the revelations surrounding MPs' expenses claims. Finding out that our elected representatives are troughing away at tax-payers expense to feather their already gilded nests has hit at the very heart of our trust and confidence in the political system.
- Respond promptly and address the public as quickly as possible. Failure to do so only fuels the rumour mill
- Maintain honesty. Lying or attempting to cover up will be discovered and make a bad situation worse
- Be informative. If there is a sense that there is more to come out, the story will run and run
- Be sympathetic to the victims of the crisis. Take whatever steps you can to relieve any loss or anxiety
- Maintain relationships with the media. A team that is seen to be helping the media will generally receive more favourable treatment, than one that blocks it with a terse 'no comment'.
A crisis communications plan doesn't have to be a weighty tome, it can be a simple set of guidelines that first considers the types of crises that could occur and then walks through the main steps for dealing with them. Like any form of insurance, to leave such things for another day is tempting, but dangerous. Temporarily diverting PR efforts away from new press releases to writing and fine-tuning a crisis communications plan could prove a valuable investment in the long run.
Do you have any experience or advice in how to manage a PR crisis? We are particularly interested in hearing opinions from professional PRs on how the current MPs' expenses crisis is being handled.
Posted Friday, May 15th, 2009 by Neil Edwards
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