Performing a crisis audit: 5 elements that play a crucial role

by | Mar 17, 2022 | Analysis, Public Relations

One of the most challenging things a PR agent may need to do is handle a public crisis. A crisis may destroy a company overnight. There are too many examples of viral situations that have affected companies worldwide, both positively and negatively. That’s why it is crucial to learn how to perform a crisis audit. It would be best if you proactively prevented a crisis before it happened. Therefore, here are the five key elements of a crisis audit.An illustration showing papers, a magnifying glass, and pencils, symbolizing 5 key elements of a crisis audit.

The five key elements of a crisis audit

When we talk about a crisis audit, we need to mention the five key elements:

  • collecting data to do a risk assessment;
  • searching for potential weaknesses that could lead to a crisis;
  • creating possible crisis scenarios and a plan of action;
  • know your communication channels in case of an emergency;
  • reporting on the situation and its results.

Let’s see why these five elements play a crucial role in a crisis audit.

1. Collecting data

The birth of a crisis can happen due to multiple reasons. The senior management often does their best to predict a potential problem. However, they don’t always know all of the circumstances. As a PR professional, you need to investigate thoroughly and conduct interviews with more people all across the company. Do not make a PR crisis mistake of not having enough information.

You want to conduct a series of confidential interviews with twenty to thirty people within the company. Be wise when choosing who you are going to interview because you want to cover different areas of work. This is especially important if you are assessing a multi-location business.

We also need to emphasize the importance of doing this research in confidence one more time. All the interviewees must know that nothing they say will reach senior management. Your questions should focus on potential harmful trends the company is following, the lack of office safety, or any signs of problems within the company.

Furthermore, when you are assessing the answers, look for any inconsistencies. Also, pay close attention to any non-verbal cues that could lead to more questions.

2. Defining potential threats to the business during a crisis

When talking about possible causes of a crisis, we are not just referring to “loose cannon” employees. We are also talking about the less obvious things that could hinder handling the problem.

As an example, communication is critical during a crisis. If the company communication channels are slow, that could slow down the transmission of information during a crisis. Imagine you are trying to inform 50 people about something urgent, but you only have one phone. The company needs to be well-organized for a crisis scenario.

3. Understand crisis scenarios and potential solutions

The type of crisis often depends on the nature of your business or the style of operating your business. Furthermore, there are too many examples of senior executives hiding their “skeletons in the closet.” Not dealing with problems with the company will escalate at one point.

Whatever happens, the best solution to a crisis is honesty. Let’s compare solving a problem with advertising a product. Whenever you promote something, it is always best to use a conscious marketing approach. You want to be sincere, original, and responsible. You want to try an authentic and honest approach. Selling lies always leads to a failure in doing business.https://moversdev.com/potential-in-conscious-marketing-to-explore/

That’s how you want to act when solving a crisis. Whatever happens, it is crucial to know all the facts.

4. Communication channels in case of an emergency

A public announcement is the first thing everyone expects when a crisis happens. As a PR professional, you need to pick your battles carefully. We all know the power of social media and how it can twist facts.

Your first step should be to monitor media during a crisis. Be sure to track any false claims or things that could further harm the business.

Get the statement ready

Also, prepare the statement for the public. Use an honest approach, as we discussed in the previous section.

When we talk about communication channels, it is also crucial to inform the public in general and the customers and business partners. Some use social media, but we have already mentioned that handling a PR crisis through these channels can be difficult.

If possible, send a statement through private channels to let the most important people know what will happen. It is an excellent preventive measure that will avoid unpleasant surprises. It is also a good proactive approach to keeping clients and partners.

5. Report on potential crisis results

After the crisis happens, you need to know its effects on the company and the business. As a preventive measure, you should create an extensive forecast report of all the vulnerabilities and points that need addressing. Forward it to the senior management, and let them know of all potential issues leading to a crisis.

This is a crucial step. At that point, the management can act to prevent a crisis before it happens. There are a lot of situations where people “knew” all the pain points, but no one addressed them. No one wants to be responsible or liable when a potential crisis becomes a reality. That’s why this report needs to be a wake-up call for everyone in the company.

The five elements of a crisis audit—explained

Use these five key elements of a crisis audit as a starting point for your research. All professional PR agents need to understand this before tackling a crisis audit. Whatever you do, it is always important to stick to the facts. Furthermore, keep in mind that sometimes preventing a crisis is not possible. Even in this scenario, it is crucial to present everything as is. It is up to the management to deal with the problem, but you are the one who has to explain potential situations and consequences.

Elizabeth Wilkens


AI and the Future of Media: Q&A with Tech Unmasker Pete Pachal

AI and the Future of Media: Q&A with Tech Unmasker Pete Pachal

Way back in 2017, I predicted in a VentureBeat guest post that PR people will be getting superpowers in a single year.  Unfortunately, I was off by about seven years. Regardless, it’s here now, and it’s far bigger than I imagined. The influence of AI on journalism...