In today’s competitive market, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset. This is the very thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge.
Effective Public Relations can help manage reputation by communicating and build good relationships with all organization stakeholders. Crisis management is also another critical organizational function which lies with the Public Relations.
Little wonder, public relations practitioners play an integral part in crisis management. The lapses on the part of these PR practitioners means failure on the part of the organization and this can result in serious harm to stakeholders, losses for an organization, or end its very existence.
Since businesses and organizations do not operate in a vacuum; they operate in an environment. In this edition, we are looking some best practices and lessons gleaned from crisis management that would be a very useful resource for those in public relations as well as others.
Here are some poor management techniques that PR practitioners must avoid if they don’t want to add to the crisis their organizations are undergoing but to alleviate it.
Some Public Relations Officers are quick to respond to an inquisitive journalist with the ‘no comments’ banter but most times this remark further fuels the anxiety of the reporter which may lead him to get more conflicting or image rendering information from another source.
A Journalist Isn’t the Enemy
A good PR practitioner should know that the journalist thrives on information, hence the reason they always want to know. The PR practitioner should know that the journalist isn’t the enemy but his inquisitiveness is what he gets paid for.
Lack of Composure
A PR practitioner ought to be heard and seen as the corporate image of 6he organization. He or she should always be firm and maintain an assured look, view and stand on any issue. When controversial issues arise, lack of composure on the part of a PR may send a signal that the organization has skeletons.
Rather than tell lies to cover an issue, a PR practitioner should be honest and say things as they are. He or she can also state what the organization is doing to resolve the issue rather than tell lies because it only gets worse when the journalist finds out the truth.
These points should aid the average PR practitioner in Nigeria because crisis would always show up. There are several other internal and external factors that may influence a company’s operating situation or give it a bad image. They include factors such as: clients and suppliers; its competition and owners; improvements in technology; laws and government activities; and market, social and economic trends.
As Tess Gerritsen aptly puts it, “there is no better test of character than when you’re tossed into crisis. That’s when we see one’s true colors shine through”