Have you seen the headlines recently about one of the newest members to the Royal family? (And no, we’re not referring to baby Archie).
Suits-star turned Duchess, Meghan Markle, has been front page news for all the wrong reasons.
You may remember the following news items…
Whilst it could be said that Meghan is being picked on by the media, due to her previous Hollywood lifestyle and her not necessarily being the “typical” Royal representative, there are a few things her PR people could be doing differently to prevent such a negative backlash.
So, what can businesses take away from Meghan’s news…
Whilst the Royals have come under fire recently for their poor PR decisions and representations, there are a few fundamental tactics that can help prevent scandals and a PR crisis getting any worse.
We’ve listed our top five tips for avoiding a PR disaster.
1. Plan for the worse case scenario
It may seem obvious, but to prevent a crisis it’s essential to map out all possible outcomes and potential reactions before you release a piece of company news or “go live” with something new. And, decide how you’ll respond and react to any negativity.
Take Meghan and Harry’s news about their extravagant home renovations which used UK taxpayer’s money. There was always going to be scrutiny over the Royal’s accounts, so it’d be good practice for their PR team to go through the report before releasing it to identify any potential negativity that would come their way.
2. Take responsibility and apologise
When a crisis breaks it’s essential that you admit your mistakes and never, ever try to cover it up as it’ll only worsen the damage.
And, by acting immediately, and issuing a response to the press or the audience that is impacted by your actions or news, you’ll take back control and help to build your reputation back up.
To do this effectively you should communicate your messages on all possible outlets – this may be through your website, your email communications, to the press and on social media.
3. Be transparent
A company can sometimes walk into a PR crisis without even realising they are doing so.
Take Meghan’s Vogue issue. She didn’t include the queen, despite now being part of her family. To every other person in Britain it would seem obvious that the Duchess would face negativity for this, but her PR team failed to identify this.
So, if you’re faced with a similar situation that appears to spiral out of control without you realising, admit your mistakes and add some relatable context to your actions. By explaining your reasons to your audience, and issuing an apology, you’ll prevent more fallout.
4. Take action
Following an apology, it’s good practice to offer a solution to the problem or the issue that you’ve caused.
Looking at Meghan’s recent “disasters” her PR team could have used this tactic to diffuse the “baby shawl” news by setting up support for the workers in the factory that produced the shawl, or by ramping up her philanthropical efforts.
To take action effectively you must show your audience that you are doing everything you can to change your ways and move forward.
5. Seek professional advice
In times of crisis it’s easy to be reactive. And, this knee-jerk reaction will heighten issues even more if you’re the owner of the company as your business and reputation is at stake.
To avoid communicating the wrong thing, you should always seek professional PR advice and identify that best way to approach and solve your situation. In addition, it’s essential that you have your whole team communicating the same messages to keep your messaging consistent and strong.
For more information about marketing communications, get in touch with a member of our team by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01926 422002.