We’ve all seen it: Some bad public relations comes out about a company and their representatives end up handling the whole ordeal terribly. And all the public can do is stand by and watch!
If you’re looking to get ahead of any potential PR trouble before it even starts, check out these dos and don’ts to properly handle damage control when it comes to your association’s brand.
- Do take ownership of the situation
Look, no one likes to see someone who passes the buck. It feels cheap and inauthentic to your audience, as they are looking for someone to claim fault or at least explain the situation. Make sure that when the issue emerges, you and your association’s staff meet to discuss the exact details of the event so that you are all on the same page. This meeting will help you determine how much responsibility you need to take to help calm the situation over.
- Don’t ignore the situation
One of the worst things you can do in this situation is to totally ignore it or even wait several days to address it. This delay will do nothing but make your audience (which includes your members, your industry, and the world alike) think that you have no sense of customer service or transparency within your organization. Not only does this look bad on you, but it will just leave a bad taste in their mouth about your association.
- Do establish a plan in place for quick action
What better way to curve any potential crisis than by having a damage control plan in place before the problem even starts! It can be hard to know how to deal with these kind of scenarios in the midst of the action and often causes organization representatives to take a stab in the dark, ultimately making matters worse. Instead, if you have a general idea of how to attack these moments, it will allow you to not feel rushed into any certain action.
- Don’t downplay the situation
It’s plain and simple that no one likes to be talked down to. This sentiment is the same whether it’s an interaction with someone in person or online. While the issue may not feel like a big deal from your perspective, the person who began this PR scenario certainly felt like it was a big enough deal to make a stand. And when it comes to your audience’s perspective, that’s all that matters.
- Do follow up with the customers directly impacted
The best way to head off these types of situations is to start by following up with the person responsible to hear their concerns. From there, you can see what you are able to do to address their needs and resolve the issue. After both parties feel satisfied, you can respond to the original concern by publicly stating you are glad the issue has been resolved so that your audience knows all is well.
- Don’t overreact
Just as it’s an issue to totally ignore someone, it can also be in your detriment for your association to over apologize to the parties affected. Your goal is to keep your communication as short, simple, and impactful as possible to not make the situation any worse. Ideally you should talk this out with someone (coworker, attorney, etc) to make sure that you’re not going over the top.
Feeling a little nervous about interacting with your social media followers? Don’t worry! Check out our Small-Staff Guide to Social Media to see what social media platforms will be best the fit your association and learn how to make those platforms best work for your association!