Lack of Judgment and How It Can Be Avoided
These examples cross over a very thin line, representing nothing more than poor judgment. This is why public relations plans are so important. More importantly, taking the proper steps to think ideas through or play a little devil’s advocate before moving forward with a potential “edgy” idea. Instead they find themselves suffering the consequences and having to kick their crisis PR strategy into high-gear.
Sometimes you can save yourself and sometimes you can’t. Acknowledging wrongdoing is always the best first step in any situation such as these. Whether you’re in this fight alone or as a multi-million dollar company, you need to accept that you were wrong because you’ve already lost in the public’s eye.
Crisis PR aside (and more on the side of common sense), it is interesting to think about how any of these ideas got past two, three, four, five, possibly even hundreds of people that went ahead and said, “OK, this is a good idea.” Some of these ideas are not just a lack of one person’s poor judgment, but actually signed-off by top management. And that raises a lot of questions.
So, how does this happen? How do we fix the situation? How can it be prevented?
Ignorance and oversight lead to poor judgment. No matter the position one holds, these factors can affect anyone and need to be considered. It only takes one outside interpretation to completely change the “intended” message and spread like wildfire.
In this day and age, everyone is a reporter and the digital landscape needs to be considered. Social media, smartphones, live stream capabilities and countless apps transform the average person into a casual consumer to reporter overnight so it’s important to think before you post.
For businesses, the impact can oftentimes be larger than expected, leading to major loss in revenue, reputation and sometimes – in the worst case scenario – lead to a company closure. This is where a crisis PR plan can make a difference.
Here are a few high-level steps to consider when implementing a crisis PR plan:
1. Create a crisis communication team – Putting the right team in place is crucial, especially one that is neutral and can express ideas or opinions freely.
2. Position yourself – Place yourself in the public’s perspective and pick your approach. Honesty is always best.
3. Respond – Put a plan into place and communicate immediately to control the message
4. Be accessible – Create a point of reference and make yourself accessible to the public and media, ready to answer their questions.
5. Reflect and revise – Review the series of events, discuss as a team, evaluate and revise if necessary.
Enforcing any type of plan is recommended as it pushes you to think through initial ideas and set objectives with steps along the way. With that said, these type of incidents could have been prevented with some thought or a plan in place. It’ll also save you the embarrassment along the way. 😉