The time for investing in a strong PR strategy is not when a company is experiencing a crisis. The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true.

Calm, rational decisions are difficult to make in the heat of public scrutiny—especially when the primary focus is the need to stop the brand’s bleeding. So before the unthinkable happens, what steps can be taken to prepare an organization to respond with integrity?

Make regular deposits into the bank of community goodwill.
A steady, ongoing pattern of giving time and resources to charitable causes will demonstrate your commitment to things more lasting than profits. If bad news breaks, it will be tempered by the positive perception of your previous giving.

Let the public see the human side of your business.
A recent example is one in which a local business hosted a benefit event for a co-worker who had been battling a rare disease. This level of care and compassion humanizes a company that could otherwise be viewed as a cold, uncaring corporation.

Leverage social media platforms to tell your story.
A balanced social media campaign includes a company’s charitable activity. However, be careful with the tone and recurrence of such posts. You don’t want to sound as though you are frequently tooting your own horn. When criticism is received through social media channels, respond promptly and honestly. Acknowledge mistakes or set forward an opposing view based on the facts.

Foundation
Be available/helpful to media representatives.
This underscores the importance of developing solid relationships with journalists and being accessible for interviews. When your company voice is absent, others will step in to characterize the story on their own terms.

Create an action plan for addressing a negative event.
Having a clear chain of command is key to speaking with one voice in a crisis. Knowing the roles of each person in the crisis management team as well as the overriding strategy will make a difficult situation less so. The action plan needs to emphasize the clear communication of a single response to the unfortunate event and who will speak for the company.

Invest in an ongoing inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing reflects an ongoing commitment to positive messaging about your company and its products or services. This comprehensive approach reaches target audiences through offering helpful content. It attracts and informs while positioning an organization as an expert that is worthy of consideration. It’s a systematic strategy for building trust and creditability.  212 Media Studios is an experienced practitioner of this marketing strategy that provides a solid foundation for a successful PR program. We would value the opportunity to discuss how inbound marketing can work with PR efforts to tell your story.

Like most things that are worthwhile, a positive public image is built through persistent, intentional effort over time. There are no shortcuts. Following through on promises and speaking with integrity will ultimately win the day.