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Ronn Torossian on Identifying a PR Crisis

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, May 25, 2023/ -- Every company is constantly facing the risk of going through a PR crisis, especially in today's era of the non-stop news cycle, which means that it's not a matter of whether it's going to happen, but when. A lot of companies have found themselves struggling to identify whether a situation that they're going through can be classified as a PR crisis, which is why it's so important for companies to determine the appropriate response to different types of situations. Whether the situation has originated externally or internally, it's important for companies to determine whether the situation that they are facing can be considered a PR crisis or not and then create an appropriate response if necessary.

Defining the situation
There are many different types of public relations crisis situations that can end up damaging the reputation of a company—some of them are easy for companies to predict, while others can happen out of the blue, and with no warning. If a situation can potentially damage the reputation of the company and the way that it is perceived by its target audience or the public, if there is a risk to the safety or health of any of the team members, or clients of the company, or even the customers and any other stakeholders, and if the situation could lead to an external or internal loss of trust with the company, then it can be considered a PR crisis. Some of the situations that can quickly evolve into a PR crisis are lawsuits against the company or anyone within the company, if there's any lack of compliance toward a regulatory body and its standards, cyber-attacks, unacceptable public comments, strikes, or the inability for the company to provide its vital services.

Moving forward
Once a company determines that a situation can devolve into a PR crisis, it's time to define whether the company needs to release a public statement regarding the situation. That means figuring out whether the company is expected to release a statement for media outlets or the public, and whether staying silent on the situation could be seen as the company admitting guilt or not caring about what happened. Additionally, if media outlets have already started discussing the situation and framing it in a different way compared to what really happened, then the company needs to take control and start forming a response. The response to the situation itself is not something that comes easy to most businesses because there are many factors that companies must take into consideration before formulating a definitive response. That's why it's important for companies to have a crisis management plan beforehand, that's been tested and regularly updated to be able to anticipate different types of scenarios and minimize the damaging effects a situation might have on the reputation of a business.

Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading crisis PR firm.

Roxanne Ducas
PR Executive
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