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Living from one crisis to the next: why communications is a must have in your arsenal

Friday afternoons used to be opportunity for me to kick-start my weekend. Planning some down-time or hitting the road for a short break. Instead, 2020 has seen me operating my office from my car, taking calls on a hike, arranging media interviews in the bath and having serious discussions in my dressing gown at 21h30 on a Saturday night.

Having managed three crisis situations in a matter of a few weeks, I now approach the end of the week with trepidation. It seems that issues like this can strike at any time and almost always leaves a client on the back foot. It has made my clients acutely aware of the importance of having a PR consultant on hand to manage the situation. Trying to navigate these difficult issues without professional advice or guidance is tough and fraught with possible landmines. Knowing how to manage the crisis and the client is a skill that is required and oddly, one that is underestimated, until you are knee-deep in a crisis yourself. This is one of many benefits to retaining PR counsel and consistently building meaningful media relationships. If these conduits to the public have context of  the business, understand your ethos and appreciate that you are a business built on integrity, managing a crisis will be that much easier.

Conversely, if they don’t know who and what  your business is, what it represents and whether they should give you the benefit of the doubt, makes managing difficult situations, much harder. I was spinning like a top, managing all the stakeholders and working hard with the media to drive home key messages, ultimately not wanting to generate any press coverage for any of the situations we found ourselves in. In almost all cases, we did end up in the media, however the reporting was measured, if not neutral, which in my opinion was a win. If it had not been for those late night chats and hours spent providing context, pertinent information and bridge building, the outcome will more than likely have been negative, or worse, the dreaded “no comment” which is the nail in any PR coffin. Currently, we all know what a crisis looks like with Covid-19, imagine not having communications people to manage your messaging, both internally and externally. What a mess that would be. So, no matter how tough things get, don’t cut your communications budget, the last thing you want to do now is stay silent. While a crisis is possibly your worst nightmare, my passion lies in making every media interaction a successful one. It’s tough, exhausting and often frustrating, but we live for these situations, our purpose is in helping you out of tight spots. Don’t be short sighted. Don’t be silent. Be a voice in your organisation, let me help you find it.

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