This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
Common sense: Why we don’t do Crisis Communications
While it’s important to prepare for a worst-case scenario situation like a natural (or even man-caused) disaster, accident, or situation involving an employee, I’m talking today about why we as a company don’t specialize in crisis communications for companies: We believe in doing the right thing to begin with.
Going forward I am screening all potential clients with our five values. If they want PR purely for sales, they are going against the core tenet of Public Relations: to serve public interest. If they are doing things that are likely not serving public interest, then engaging in PR “tactics” just aren’t going to work. They might seem like they are working in the short term, but in the days of hyper-transparency, it’s eventually going to get out in the open. Thanks, YouTube!
Last year, I got a phone call from someone looking for a PR company to help them “defend” their company in the media. There was an angry client involved, who threatened to “expose” them to the media that very night for something they thought the company had done. It didn’t sound like it was the company’s fault to begin with, but I can understand the fear behind their decision to get help. I said I couldn’t help the person because there just wasn’t enough notice, and honestly, I wouldn’t have known how to charge for that. I ended up just giving my two cents to the person about what they should say to media should they be approached (free advice, essentially) and wished them luck. In retrospect, I think I would have done the same thing, only found out what they were doing to rectify the situation – what they were doing RIGHT to help their client (or ex-client) fix it. I really hope that it didn’t escalate into a lawsuit.
The point of this blog post is, I don’t plan on doing crisis communications anytime soon. If someone was drowning in an ocean and I had a lifesaver to throw out to them, absolutely, I’d try and save them. But to shake hands with a company that has a high likelihood of a crisis situation and expects us to fan its flames is like agreeing to be the band-aid on an internal wound. You work on the prevention first, not just the solution.
Flipside Creative’s blog from last week says it all – trust is at the core of all relationships, especially business ones. If we can’t trust that you’ll run your business ethically, you won’t need to trust us to save you in a situation that will cast you in a negative light with the public.