I recently wrote an editorial for Forbes on crisis communications. How do you know when a PR crisis is brewing?
Many brands might believe a communications crisis pops up out of nowhere, but usually there were warning signs along the way that could have slowed or prevented the crisis. The warning signs were likely just ignored or not seen.
Here are three warning signs to watch out for. I went more in-depth in the Forbes article if you want to learn more, but here’s a summary.
Customers Complain about the Same Issue
The easier it is for journalists to find voices for their investigative story, the worse for your brand. An angry customer is always motivated — and that’s the best personality for TV. Keep your pulse on the customer. If you begin hearing similar complaints, get to the root of the problem — and fix it — before they go to the media.
Disgruntled employees will work against you
Former and current employees can be even more dangerous to any unfolding crisis because they have insider perspectives on what others aren’t seeing. They add color and commentary to any work situation, and reporters will be more receptive with their insider credos.
If the company is going down, and employees are on the ship, there might not be much you can do to control their desire to speak with reporters. But if you’re fair and honest with employees, you’ll at least lower their incentive to bash your brand in the media.
Media runs in packs — fix it fast.
A full-blown crisis will hit your brand from every area — and with the media, it’s the same situation. When TV reporters and newspaper and online writers all leave voicemail messages about the same issue, you’re in a fire.