In an article over at PR Daily, Danya Proud, Media Relations Director for McDonalds, USA shares a few helpful pointers on the best and worst things to do in a crisis. Very helpful tips when you want to ensure that your brand withstands the test (for it is always a matter of “when” you’d face a crisis, not “if”).
- Never inflate the situation before you’ve figured it out, Proud says. Sending an email to your entire company when in crisis mode is unnecessary. Identify the key players and departments, and focus on communicating with them.
- Never be a slacker. Social media moves quickly. “Gone are the days that you can procrastinate about what you’re saying,” Proud says. “You have a responsibility to get back to people.” If you aren’t informed enough to address the problem at hand, a simple tweet or post letting people know you’re looking into the issue will show that you’re listening.
- Never miss an opportunity. A crisis can be an opportunity to set the record straight. “I seize every opportunity to educate,” Proud says.
- Never fail to recognize C.A.V.E. people. Some people are “trolling” the Internet looking to stir up trouble. You need to know when to respond and when to recognize a “C.A.V.E.” person—that is, a Citizen Against Virtually Everything, as McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner calls them. “Understand and accept that you won’t get 100 percent” of people loving your brand, Proud advises.
- Define the crisis. Before you go into panic mode, you need to understand what the crisis is, what it means to your company, and who needs to be involved.
- Tailor the communication. The CEO isn’t always the most relatable person. Make sure the person you choose to represent the crisis at hand resonates with the audience.
- Avoid jargon. “People forget conversational language and resort back to comfortable corporate speak,” Proud notes.
- Give them what they want. Proud knows that “it’s not about what you want to say, it’s about what your audience wants to hear.” McDonald’s embarks on listening tours and monitors social media to understand what people want from the company.
- Acknowledge that you’re not perfect. If you’ve made a mistake, own up to it. Let people know you’re listening to them.