Public Relations

crisis communications

R Take on Crisis Communication During COVID-19 and Beyond

crisis communications

 

This year, the collective elephant in the room for every marketing and PR team is COVID-19. Whether it’s affecting your organization through closures, restrictions, lack of demand, supply chain delays, or any other avenues, it’s something we all need to address. But, most of us aren’t exactly sure how. We can help with crisis communication tips that can be applied now or to any unanticipated situation that can affect your brand reputation.

What is Crisis Communication?

It may sound ominous, but in general, crisis communication is simply your strategic approach in responding to any unanticipated event that could disrupt your organization’s operations and/or cause potential harm to your brand reputation such as:

  • Product recalls
  • Customer injuries
  • Employee misconduct
  • Security breaches
  • Natural disasters

And unfortunately, we can now add pandemic to the list.

Crisis Communication in Action

With the speed in which news travels today—as well as its reach—how you communicate during a crisis can dramatically impact your reputation—good or bad.

Here are some examples of misses in crisis communication:

On the other hand, these organizations got it right:

R Crisis Communication Playbook

When you have a crisis on your hands, you’re likely asking what should you be saying, how should you say it, who should you say it to, and via which channel(s)? It can get overwhelming pretty quickly so the first thing to do is take a deep breath and then:

Assess the Situation – There are a couple of layers on this one. From a broader perspective assess the type of crisis you’re dealing with, as a product recall will certainly dictate a different response than a pandemic. Then, take a look at all your currently scheduled campaigns as well as social media to see if they are still right for the current situation in voice, tone, and messaging. Don’t forget imagery too! Considering COVID-19 specifically, you don’t want to show people too close together for example. And with emotions so high right now, perhaps shift your message from an overt product focus to more of a human focus that’s empathetic and helpful. 

Respond Quickly - To control the narrative for your brand as best you can, quick action is a must. Also, consider your channels. For example, if safety concerns about your product are reported on social media first then respond there first. Expand to other channels quickly thereafter and communicate often with updates. Next, once you’ve assessed your campaigns, quickly stop any that may be perceived as insensitive to the situation. Even with campaigns you continue, consider how often you email and/or post. Too much push marketing can be seen as intrusive (and self-serving) in times of crisis.

Be Transparent - As you saw in the examples of misses above, any attempt to withhold information— whether real or perceived—will be disastrous for your brand. If the crisis is a situation in which your organization is at fault; acknowledge what happened, accept responsibility, apologize, and clearly communicate how you will move forward. Importantly, if the crisis resulted in injury, put the victim’s pain and frustration first. And avoid placing blame right off the bat. It can also be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and/or victims of the crisis to think about what you would want to know and how you would want it communicated.

Be Consistent - Not only in message but also across channels. Keep in mind that in most cases you’ll have different audiences in which you need to communicate. You’ll need to carefully craft messages that are still consistent, yet specifically speak to their concerns. Using COVID-19 as an example, if you’re a restaurant whose business hours have been restricted this will impact employees and customers. While it’s inconvenient for customers it’s potentially devastating to the livelihood of your employees, so the tone needs to be appropriate although the general message of restricted hours is the same. And consider the best way to get that message across. Social media and on-premise signage may work for customers, but would be highly inappropriate for employees.

Monitor Sentiment - Make sure to keep a close eye not only on national and local news outlets during a crisis but also on what your customers are saying on social media. And don’t forget to respond, on-message of course! Track your campaigns carefully as well. If your crisis communication approach is working, great! But still remain vigilant. If it’s not, go back to the beginning and reassess to see how you might tweak to improve communications going forward. Another option here might be to enlist the help of supporters such as brand ambassadors to create some positive influence.

Schedule a FREE 15 min Discovery Call to share your biggest communication challenge during COVID-19 or any crisis situation for your organization, and we’ll offer tips to keep your brand's reputation intact.


difference between pr marketing and advertising

R Commonly Asked PR Questions

difference between pr marketing and advertising

With years of experience in public relations, we know that great things come when you get people talking. But that’s just one reason why we love answering your PR questions. The other: to show just how effective PR can be in helping your business flourish! To start the conversation, we’ve answered some of R most commonly asked questions.

What's the difference between Public Relations & Marketing and Advertising? 

Public Relations are creative content tools to relate to the public and a wider audience messaging for your business, such as press management, content on your social media, and creative promotions to entice a larger audience to know—and care—about your business or brand. Marketing is a tool used to mix the brand aspects of your business with internal messages such as menus, website updates, social media strategy and a direct a to b channel from brand to a message. PR is more indirect, as you rely on media (both traditional and digital) to convey your message—here, a publicist is in the driver seat to ensure your messages are properly conveyed, serving as your messengers to the general public as opposed to just message givers (like a more traditional marketer). Advertising is a direct message to a platform such as a billboard, digital ad on a website, TV ad on a station or show—this is where your message, such as “stop by we’ll leave the light on for you,” would be directly placed on a platform. An advertising agent will likely lead you to those sources, discuss an ad budget, and advise on proper channels and messages to entice a direct audience with a direct message.

Are press kits still a thing? 

Yes, a press kit is used for many reasons, it aligns all press you have garnered ( or are garnering) and offers the writer a way to fact check directly with a proper press kit a lot of back and forth and research can be avoided and a writer is more likely to write about someone or a business that has an organized brand. All of which can be conveyed on a professionally done press kit.

How can an influencer help a brand? 

Influencers can sometimes be a tool to entice more buzz, however, often influencers charge for posts, so you want to be sure that the influencer(s) you choose to work with offer media kits with successfully brand sharing stories and also their audience matches your brand efforts. Know your goals going into the relationship, like if you want to increase your followers, be sure they have a track record of helping others do this, or if you are pushing a product or sale be sure you have your message clear to them so your goals are also met, especially if you are paying them.

Let’s keep talking. Schedule a FREE discovery call today!

difference between pr marketing and advertising


R Favorite Things 2019

 

Working as publicists and writers around the holidays is a busy time for us, there are holiday must-have lists, recipes, and private events to be shared. Offering R creativity daily is a fun full-time gig. However, sometimes we have to stop and smell the roses, take a minute or two for ourselves, so we can recharge for our clients and team. This season, in the midst of holiday buzz-building for others, I asked the RPR team to share their own favorite things. It was a true joy to see what everyone shared. Take a peek here, hopefully we inspire you, too from R team to yours!

Julie, International Consultant and Senior Editor 

This cookbook, because potlucks are the best way to entertain!

This t shirt- because it’s so comfy and looks cute with any coat, cardigan and scarf.

And this fake awake eye brightening pencil (because kids).

Sarah, Digital Media Guru

Lush: Avo Bath Bomb (because we all need a good bath to relax at the end of the day)

Stila: Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ( because oops lunch meeting new clients)

William Sonoma: Himalayan Salt Block for Grilling - salmon, chicken, you name it, it will taste better

Jamie Oliver: Mortar and Pestle  (because needed)

Benriner: Mandolin Slicer ( watch those fingers but here comes some majorly good gratin)

Rifle Paper Co: Phone Cases ( because they are gorgeous)

Tracy, Senior Editor & Content Specialist 

Yeti Wine Tumblers—Hellooooo, glamping!

Smith Teamaker's Meadow Tea—My favorite herbal tea, and a great stocking stuffer. Even the kids love it with honey.

Miir Camp Cup—My husband got me one last Xmas and we both love it so much I'm getting him one this year. It legit keeps my coffee hot for hours, and so far has proved indestructible. Plus, the company uses proceeds to help bring water to those without.

Sonora Candles from PaddywaxThey look as good as they smell!

Tamyra Beanie from Prana—How stinking cute is this hat?!

Martha Stewart Spoonula—Nothing fancy, but it's seriously one of my most beloved kitchen utensils.

Condensation Ring—How pretty are these stackable bands from Portland-designer Seaworthy?!

Sukari Baby Facial from Drunk Elephant—The perfect at-home acid exfoliation.

Weighted Throw Blanket—Just me?? I'm totally asking for one this year.

Patagonia Fleece Mittens—Love that they open to fingerless gloves.

Venti Beach Tote—Look at how much it will hold!

Julia, R-ecipe Development, Senior Editor 

Norden - Joshua Tree Ceramic Candle I love these! And I use the jars for flowers or a coffee mug when the candle is done :)

Sabre - Teak Butter Spreaders Classic, chic and great for entertaining, making your morning toast or as a prop in food photos!

Kerzon - Feuilles d'Eucalyptus I love things scented with eucalyptus! When I'm cooking all the time and washing my hands, I always need a good hand lotion. This one is thick and creamy and the shea butter is great during the winter.

Vintage Barware Jigger I'm always looking for cool vintage items for my bar cart. I think these mismatched vintage bar jiggers are my next purchase!

Everlane - Shrunken Cashmere Sweatshirt A little more expensive than the others, but I love Everlane cashmere. It's a good price and it holds up well. The cropped cashmere "sweatshirt" is my favorite and looks so cute with high waisted jeans. The red really pops in the winter!

Madison, Brand Ambassador 

12-month planner from Bando - These are my favorite planners, I get one every year! Plus, they have cute stickers..who says you can't play with stickers as an adult.

Cotton smock apron from World Market - If you watch Bon Appetit on Youtube, you will notice a lot the editors wearing these. I have one, and I love it! It's a loose fit so you can comfortably wear it over chunky sweaters or sweats.

Beeswax wrap from Bees Wrap - I'm trying to reduce the amounts of single-use plastics I use, I've seen that these are a great replacement for plastic wrap

Minute Mimosa Sugar Cube Trio from Uncommon Goods - This looks so fun.

Copper Planter from West Elm - I love the metallic color of this planter! I have two dogs that are nosy and like to get into all my plants so having a planter that's elevated is a must in my apartment

In-shower body conditioner/exfoliator from Lush - This is one of the best in-shower moisturizers for the cold weather months. It exfoliates your skin while also moisturizing it. It's marketed as one of Lush's "naked" items which means it is packaging-free, again reducing the amount of single-use plastics!

Emily, R Founder

While most of my Christmas faves revolve around my Bambinos Registry plus diaper genies and baby bathtubs, for my little love who is due Christmas Day. Yet, for moi I would choose these beauties:

 Pick A Pom hat from Anthropologie: I honestly tell my husband and family - pretty much you could  get me a sock on sale at Anthro and I would like them, but I really do love this “change the pom pom” idea for this hat. It’s less than $40 (which for Anthro is pretty much a steal). Speaking of stealing I am sure my tween daughters will steal these from me, but it still would be fun!

The grandma in me is craving flannel sheets, these houndstooth babies are so pretty and pink and on sale!

For the kitchen- I need/want a new cutting board or two, and these are so pretty.

These are essential for me, and I truly love, love love this company. If you don’t have these wooden spoons, then I suggest you put these on your list, they are the best for cooking , stirring and pretty much everything, I have my whole family hooked on them. I also love this mission and family run operation- people who quit day jobs to build spoons are my inspo!

Because I love our R clients, I love these earrings from Hearne as my final pick. Bonus, by buying these,  I will likely help a baby in Africa get some diapers and immunizations with the purchase too:  Another bonus: I may still be pregnant on NYE but these pretties with an extra large maternity sweater will make me feel like I am a supermodel!

Tammy, R Accounting Guru:

“Save your money and make something and write a nice card (RPR accounting)”