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  • Harry Power

Why your business needs a crisis communications agency.


man struggling at work who needs the help of a crisis communications agency

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Not only was this my old English teacher’s favourite cliché when trying to motivate a class of disinterested teenagers, but it also perfectly encapsulates your businesses need for a crisis communications strategy.


In the post-pandemic world of 2021, businesses should now be all too intimately aware that they are susceptible to crises. You may not know when you’re going to be impacted or in what form the crisis will hit, but through effective crisis planning and the utilisation of crisis management agencies, your business can emerge stronger from the disruption.


Of course, in high-pressure crises, not every business will nail its crisis response. However, there is a noticeable difference between those that are proactive in their approach to crisis communications and those that simply wait for everything to go wrong before taking their first steps.


This guide will look to further develop your understanding of why you need a crisis plan, providing insight into how a crisis communications agency can help you strategically work through a business crisis. Starting by reviewing what a business crisis is.



 


What actually is crisis communications?


According to NI Business Info,

A business crisis is an event, or series of events, that causes major disturbance for a business. A crisis typically occurs suddenly and poses intense difficulty or danger for the business, usually in a situation where time is short, and decisions have to be taken quickly.”


As a result of the severity of a business crisis and the potential impact it could have on your organisation's reputation, effective crisis planning and preparation are vital components of your business PR mix.

Some businesses may have never heard of crisis comms, others will have simply prioritised ‘more important’ matters, and a lot would have said, “Why plan for something when I don’t know what I’m up against.”


Here’s why.


Why your business needs a crisis communications strategy.


  1. Crises are inevitable.

As much as you can try to avoid them, crises do happen. Products malfunction, suppliers go bust, and new employees drop things. For all we know, a pandemic could come along and force everywhere to shut for a year. The point is these events DO happen. They’re often completely out of your control and near on impossible to foresee, but it’s up to the smart businessperson to prepare for these possibilities, using crisis communications to come out on top.


2. The growth of social media.

On social media, everything almost happens in fast forward. Just as easily as a brand can pick up millions of followers overnight, another can see its intricately built reputation fall away in minutes. There’s next to no time to be reactive when you’re in the midst of a social media storm, and you certainly can’t wait for it to pass, so you must be prepared.

A crisis communications plan will not only allow you to be prepared to weather the social media storm when it does indeed hit. It will also allow you to spot warning signs, avoid costly mistakes, and potentially leave a crisis in a better position than when it started.


3. Because burying your head in the sand is no longer an option.

A decade or two ago, you may have been alright ducking for cover if a crisis did come your way. A lot of small to medium-sized companies would require a monumental f**k up to get anywhere near the weekly local paper, and if their crises did reach the press, you could likely stay quiet for a few days, and all would be forgotten.

This is not the case with the internet. The internet never forgets.

Not only is a business crisis now likely met with a bombardment of negative reviews and a steady stream of Twitter mentions from customers, but your stakeholders now see interaction and information as a bare minimum.

The business world has changed, customers now lead the dance, and if they’re not happy, they’ll be sure to let you know. Your customers expect a level of two-way communication, and they want to be kept informed, even in a crisis.

And I’m speaking from experience here, without a crisis communications plan, that’s not very easy.


 

Let’s say I’m at least somewhat good at my job, and by this point in the guide, a fair chunk of you understand the benefits of crisis comms and are interested in creating a crisis communications plan for your business.

The next logical question is, “How on earth do I prepare my business for a crisis when I have no idea what or when it’s going to be?


Well, 74% of companies who faced a major crisis from 2014-2019 sought outside help either during or after their most serious crisis (PWC), and that’s because crisis communication is difficult.

Yes, you can absolutely create your own brilliant crisis management plan, but when the metaphorical s**t hits the fan, often all you want is the cool head of a crisis communications agency to guide your way.


So, what are the benefits of a crisis communications agency?


  1. Your reputation is a prized asset.

“It can take 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffett.


Your business reputation is a huge deal. In this digital age, a company with a poor reputation will quite simply struggle to survive. Therefore, it’s vital to protect it. And crisis communication professionals can spin unfavourable narratives, so your company doesn’t lose out on potential customers.

We’ve established that business crises are a matter of when, not if, so you want to be best prepared to come out the other side in the best possible shape.

We’re crisis experts. We’ve been there for your worst business nightmares, we’ve seen the s**t hit the fan (literally), and we’ve come out the other side.

We’ve built thousands of tailored crisis communications plans, and most importantly, we’ve actually implemented them. Meaning that not only are we equipped to preserve your reputation if a crisis does hit, but we also understand how to avoid the majority of crises before they boil to the surface.


2. You must be proactive.

In 2021, crises travel fast.

It’s increasingly common to see a business crisis reach the Twitter trending page before a boss’ desk, and you simply can’t afford to be playing catch up.

You must work proactively, first attempting to future-proof your company from any potential crisis, whilst also preparing for when a crisis does hit that is completely out of your control.

You need a crisis team, template statements, social media policies, media training, and much more. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix, but that doesn’t mean you should just leave it until tomorrow. You might just need a bit of a helping hand.

A crisis communications agency can help to ease your mind, whatever your crisis needs. Whether you just want a simply structured crisis plan, a fully integrated crisis strategy and team, or even urgent crisis support, we can be the calm head in the chaos.


3. Crises can represent an opportunity.

Yes, crises are daunting, and yes, we’ve all seen what a poorly dealt with crisis can do to a company. But what better time to do something special than when the whole world is watching you.

Where your average employee may freeze, crisis communications professionals thrive, and once crisis flashpoints have been neutralised, why not try to encourage some positive engagement to flip the script.


“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy


 

You need crisis communications.

To summarise, crisis communications is now a must-have for every ambitious business.

In this increasingly digital (and toxic) world, crises are only becoming more common, and it’s up to YOU to be ready for when a crisis hits your organisation.

There’s no getting away from the fact that planning for a crisis is not only daunting but also incredibly time-consuming, so enlisting the help of a crisis communications agency often leads to more success (and fewer headaches).


If you’re interested in learning more about the crisis communications services we offer at BETTER Marketing Agency (or any of the other services within our PR mix), I’ve attached a link here.

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