By Mark Miller
Recent weeks have not been very kind to some of the world’s most high-profile brands, once again highlighting the importance of effective public relations executive search.
Large corporations in a slew of industries are finding themselves in the headlines–and not for the reasons they’d like. Just a few of the many examples:
A United Airlines passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight–an event that was filmed by many other passengers and subsequently went viral.
A “string of negative publicity” recently led to the resignation of Uber’s company’s Head of Communications.
Hopefully your organization, however large, will never encounter a disaster on the scale such as one of these events. But when you operate on a global scale, employ thousands of people, push a lot of messages and have a broad customer base, some mistakes are inevitable.
You can’t always control what happens to your business. But you can influence the scale of the mistakes that happen–and control how your organization responds when they occur.
Starting at the Top
These days, messaging can quickly be snatched away from your control and turned into a narrative that’s damaging to your brand in no time. The power of social media enables consumers to share events, opinions, and stories like wildfire. Even minor things you might consider unimportant can escalate rapidly.
The most important way to avoid foreseeable PR disasters and navigate the inevitable ones is to have a communications mastermind on-hand ready to respond to anything the world can throw your way.
Great crisis management begins and ends with great public relations leadership. Don’t wait until you’re already neck-deep in an emergency to try to hire one; begin your communications executive search sooner rather than later. In the unfortunate event that you DO need PR leadership ASAP, consider getting a PR consultant or interim marketing executive to carry you through the crisis.
Insourcing Your Crisis Response Team
Many businesses have traditionally partnered with PR agencies and, more recently, social media agencies to handle their communications needs.
There’s nothing wrong with developing powerful relationships with effective third parties. Those partnerships can be extremely valuable for getting visibility for certain key initiatives and campaigns. But even the best PR agencies tend to be poorly equipped to handle the brand emergencies of today.
A communications crisis can go viral in a matter of minutes. A speedy, appropriate response means the difference between a tarnished brand reputation and getting through the crisis smoothly.
But working through agency channels slows things down with an extra layer of approvals, internal systems and information gatekeepers. When a crisis comes your way, your business will be best prepared if it already has staff on-hand who are intimately familiar with your brand and can be directly managed by the previously mentioned communications genius you’ve already hired.