The Dos & Don’ts of Public Relations Crisis Management

"The Dos & Don'ts of Public Relations Crisis Management" Bug

The phrase “Public Relations disaster” was perhaps never used more than it was last month when United Airlines forcibly dragged a passenger off of a flight. They did so not because of any transgression he’d committed, but because the airline had purposefully overbooked the flight.

The video of the incident would have been a disaster in and of itself, but United Airlines truly dug their own grave when their social media representative seemed to blame the victim of the incident immediately after the video hit the Internet. The airline’s Twitter account referred to the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent”, despite the fact that the video footage and the witness statements contradicted that.

United Airlines may forever be the poster child of what not to do in the midst of a Public Relations (PR) crisis.

To ensure that your company never follows the same path, here are the dos and don’ts of crisis management.

DON’T Blame The Customer

For a long time, the sentiment “the customer is always right” reigned supreme. Now, any business owner knows that jerk customers absolutely do exist and you sometimes have to bend over backwards for someone who doesn’t deserve such kind treatment.

When you’re in the middle of a public relations crisis, it’s important to remember the old rule about the customer always being right. Now, in the case of United Airlines, the wronged passenger was in fact an innocent victim. But even if he hadn’t been, the decision by the airline to insult him publicly still would have been the wrong one. You never want to look like you’re trying to pass the blame off to someone else, especially someone who’s given your company money. 

DO Communicate, But Wisely

United Airlines wasn’t necessarily wrong for responding to the situation promptly and publicly. It wasn’t their timing or their willingness to communicate that was an issue; rather, it was what they said.

Although saying something irresponsible or blaming the customer is the wrong way to go, staying silent can be just as problematic from a public relations standpoint. People are distrustful of any company that fails to respond to actions or accusations of wrongdoing. Furthermore, in the social media age, people have grown accustomed to lightning-quick responses. People grow impatient and frustrated if you wait too long to make a statement.

You want to think critically and creatively about your response to a situation, but it’s important that you work within a reasonable time frame. Put thought into how you respond and weigh the pros and cons of your words, but don’t wait too long. 

DON’T Be Childish

Recently, a new cosmetics company turned what should have been the launch of a promising new product into the end of their company before it ever really began. When Evie Blender launched its product, a silicone makeup sponge, it used the common cosmetics marketing technique of sending the product to a slew of popular YouTube makeup gurus to use in their videos.

When longtime YouTuber and makeup artist XSparkage announced on camera that she was underwhelmed by the product, Evie Blender could have just left well enough alone. Instead, they launched a downright childish campaign against the beloved e-celebrity, flooding her social media with petty comments and sending her a cease and desist letter that dishonestly labeled her fair criticism of their product as “libel.”

In the era of social media, this behavior by new entrepreneurs is becoming all too common. Your company’s social media presence ought to be taken seriously; these are not your personal accounts where you can be free to be goofy, sarcastic, or petty. When you have a negative PR situation on your hands, don’t respond defensively to individual comments. Don’t engage with Internet trolls who are trying to get a rise out of you. The second you appear to be overly defensive or childish, you’ve set the ball in motion for your company to fall apart.

The digital era has changed so much about how we approach public relations, but some rules will never change. Communicate honestly, but never be petty or blame the customer. Be polite, be professional, and be honest. Customers don’t have a problem with companies that occasionally make mistakes; rather, what they have a problem with is companies that don’t know how to handle these mistakes.


Meet the Author: Philip Piletic

Philip’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. As a freelancer and writer, he is in love with startups, traveling, and helping others get their ideas off the ground. He unwinds with a glass of scotch and some indie rock on vinyl.

LinkedIn: Philip Piletic


Categories

All Categories

Business Operations

Entrepreneur Interviews

Marketing, Networking, & Social Media

Self Care & Personal Development

Working Moms

Business Software and Technology

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Organizing Tips

Sales

Career Building

Family Businesses

Inspiration

Starting Your Own Business

Work-Life Balance

Communication

Hiring Help

Management & Leadership

Time Management & Priorities

Women in Leadership

Recent Posts

Want To Sell Property Fast?  Do These 5 Things

Want To Sell Property Fast? Do These 5 Things

Mike Johnson is a freelance writer and human rights activist and enthusiast. Through his extensive research and commitment to the field of law, Mike has established himself as a well-decorated writer in this field. Mike currently settles in Las Vegas.

Generations of Success: The Unique Charms of Family-Run Home Businesses

Generations of Success: The Unique Charms of Family-Run Home Businesses

The blog celebrates the heartwarming essence of family-run home businesses. It delves into their special qualities: the personal touch they offer, the deep expertise passed through generations, the cozy and inviting atmosphere they create, their integral role in the community, adaptability, genuine passion, meticulous care in crafting goods, and the captivating stories woven into their existence. Supporting these businesses isn’t just about transactions; it’s about nurturing the soul of our communities, preserving traditions, and embracing authenticity in a world that sometimes feels distant.

How Mastering the Alchemy of Car Finance and Insurance Transforms You Into a Savvy Owner

How Mastering the Alchemy of Car Finance and Insurance Transforms You Into a Savvy Owner

This essential read delves into the intricacies of navigating car loans, understanding insurance policies, and making informed decisions that lead to significant savings and wise investments. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned vehicle owner, our insights will equip you with the knowledge to manage your automotive finances like a pro, ensuring peace of mind and financial savvy in your journey as a car owner.

10 Ways to Enhance Your Customer Service

10 Ways to Enhance Your Customer Service

In the dynamic landscape of business, customer service remains a linchpin for success. The ten strategies we’ve discussed here provide a roadmap to enhancing your business’s customer service capabilities. From fostering a positive company culture to personalizing your services and leveraging technology to assist, by continuously refining your approach to customer service, you can differentiate your business in a crowded marketplace.

Tactics to Skyrocket Your On-Demand Beauty App Installs

Tactics to Skyrocket Your On-Demand Beauty App Installs

Dive deep into effective marketing techniques, user engagement strategies, and optimization tips to drive success in the competitive app landscape. Unlock the secrets to increasing app visibility and attracting more users to elevate your salon business to new heights.