Erika Brewington’s Blog

Public Relations in Times of Crisis

In our PR class today, the lecture was regarding the topic of Times of Crisis in Public Relations. We discussed many different factors, including the actual definition of a crisis, the various types of crises, contributing factors to crises and how PR professionals handle these situations. Heres’s where you can view the power point that Professor Nixon used during the lecture: Public Relations in Times of Crisis

The definition of a crisis has the criteria that the event is 1) non routine, 2) risks undesired visibility, and 3) threatens significant reputation damage. Once it is certain that the event is in fact a crisis, it can then be placed in 1 of 4 categories:

  1. meteor crisis: there is a remote possibility, and no prior planning for the event
  2. predator crisis: someone else is the cause of the event
  3. breakdown crisis: one event causes another to occur
  4. lingering crisis: the effects of the event will always remain

There are several different factors that a crisis may stem from, including environmental, technological, terroristic, criminal misconduct, managerial, or accidental.

The attacks on the World Trade Center is an example of a terroristic crisis

The attacks on the World Trade Center is an example of a terroristic crisis

There are several benefits of planning for a crisis, including reducing stress, demonstrating goodwill, increased flow of information, involving stakeholders, and business continuity. Every PR professional should have a crisis communication kit that contains all necessary information in the occurrence of a crisis.

The 3 R’s of communication are vital to success of an organization or business if a crisis should occur. These include:

  1. Research-building relationships, having emergency personnel and notification procedures, and practicing in the event that a crisis may occur
  2. Response- emergency notification, gathering necessary information, and releasing information to the public
  3. Recovery- includes a follow up of the crisis, proactive storytelling, solidifying relationships, and adjusting the response plan

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