March 16, 2017 – Joshua Harlow, Senior Vice President
Many times when I meet with prospective clients, there is a panic in their voice as they say, “We don’t have a crisis plan.” They quickly grow concerned about what would happen to their organization should something adverse happen. My advice is to speak calmly and remind them that this is why they have me (haha). But in all seriousness, a company or organization in today’s world, large or small, without a crisis plan is very vulnerable. Take two examples I dealt with recently:
1. From the Consumer Perspective – Restaurant/Retail Brands:
I have a friend who is in the restaurant business that recently received a poor review on Facebook. The unrelenting "reviewer" also recruited personal friends to report negatively about the restaurant on Facebook. The restaurant, not familiar with this sort of negative attention, chose not to respond. The negative sentiments kept coming on their page. Finally, my friend called for advice. I asked if they engaged with the person directly to rectify the situation. The answer was no, but once my friend directly contacted the disgruntled customer, the situation was quickly resolved. The customer even wrote a glowing response to their previous review. Tip: Directly engage when you can fix the situation or stop a problem from getting worse!
2. From the Advocacy Perspective – Public Official Criticism:
An organization where I have professional ties was criticized in the press by an elected official for their stance on a public policy issue. Instead of choosing to articulate the organization's position clearly, they wished to “try and change the argument” – my thought was why? This organization had well-populated digital and social channels to research their position along with other messaging that could directly control their message to ensure their supporters understood their exact position. Tip: Use your resources to swiftly and directly counteract criticism from public officials.
Jones PR performs a wide variety of crisis consulting services led by Senior Vice President Joshua Harlow along with Digital Director Taylor Ketchum. Their Digital Crisis Simulator is a way for organizations to see in real-time how adverse events might affect their reputation.