Let’s face it, sooner or later every organization runs into a PR situation that reflects poorly on them. What ultimately counts is not the bad news but how you handle it. In this issue’s DIY we present you with the top five things you should do in-house in preparation for calling out the pros.
- Get your house in order – meaning make sure that your legal basics are IN – meaning that you are following the law in all the following areas and nothing has lapsed: Employee laws; Insurance [i.e. Errors and omissions liability (if applicable); Worker’s Comp]; Corporate status; Finance [i.e. Taxes, Asset protection].
- Look for all areas of potential attacks and come up with suggested handlings – the PR firm will want to see what you are aware of regarding your public perception and what you think you should do – this is vital because 1) they will ask you (and should!) – for the main reason that they want to gauge your perceptions of your public persona, your ability to handle pressure, if you will make mistakes, and if you recommend something detrimental – this will tell them what they have to do to get you aware, able and ready.
- Look for BS attacks and handlings – when you are under attack, if there is a dearth of data, people will make up rumors/reasons why you messed up or got into trouble – what is the most likely things that could be said or brought to light? Whether or not it is true or not is not the issue – rumors are rumors – the better you can predict the rumors the more prepared you are of not getting caught flat footed.
- Employees drilled on what to say and how to say it and your communication rules in place – figure out what employees need to be drilled, what they should do if approached. The best thing is to ensure that NO ONE talks to anyone, and reception is well-schooled to handle calls and 1) effectively route the call to the deemed spokesperson and 2) do not seem ill prepared or 3) piss anyone off.
- Identify any subdivisions of channels of attacks – social media, organizations, community groups/people, clients, shareholders, board members, etc., etc. – any area you might experience attacks/backlash