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Corporate messaging nightmares: Preventing a PR crisis before it happens

by | Aug 21, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

Law firms, real estate brokerages, and others often have clients, prospects and contacts who may be influenced—positively or negatively—by their message.

Any organization looking for a way not to handle corporate messaging can take a look at the current situation in Washington D.C. to see exactly how it shouldn’t be done. From conflicting messaging to offensive language and questionable use of social media, leaders from the Capitol have struggled with their communication.

Ask yourself: Would the wrong message jeopardize your relationships or prospects?

Businessman shocked to read controversial brand messaging

Consider these tips before going public:

How do you want to be perceived?

President Trump’s tweets, sent seemingly without input from his communications team, are praised by supporters as reflecting his non-traditional style. They also have derailed messaging, stalled initiatives, and fueled speculation about his mindset.

Be cautious of who you hire

Imagine your company hires a new executive, whose personality later leaves you, staff, clients and prospects cringing. Closely vet prospects’ publicly published comments for tone and persona.

Set the rules

Outbursts that can compromise corporate culture could be actionable in a court of law or public opinion. Discuss, before hiring, your company’s expectations and consequences.

Never be committed to the wrong person

Be prepared to let wildcards go if it could stanch self-inflicted damage.

If you have a blemished history, assume the truth will be revealed at some point

No email server is hack-proof.

Be prepared

The best time to prepare for crisis communications is before it occurs. Train executives on what to say and how to deliver messaging. Review speaking points to be covered—and left unsaid. Establish which executive is authorized to speak and under what conditions. Consider hiring a corporate communications specialist.

Finally, learn

Mistakes happen. Share the findings with the team. Commit to never making the same messaging mistake twice.

Julie Talenfeld
Julie Talenfeld is the president of BoardroomPR, , a full service PR and marketing firm based in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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