handling a pr disaster

How to Handle a PR Brand Disaster Online Using Press Releases

Stumbled upon a brand disaster? Know how to handle it with the help of a press release wire.

Running a business is not all rosy. There are ups and downs, wins and losses, twists, and turns, and then, there are PR brand disasters. These disasters, or what PR professionals also call crises, come in many forms and degrees. Examples of these are negative reviews, airline fiascos, and catastrophic events that have the capacity to interrupt or stop any business operation. On any given day, brand disasters can ruin a brand’s image.

By definition, a PR brand disaster is any occurrence – an event, social media fiasco, or negative review – that impacts your reputation as a business entity. A negative review online, for example, can break business continuity. PR brand disasters may also result in financial loss, if not managed properly and immediately.

What are the types of PR brand disasters?

Brand disasters come in many shapes and sizes.

Below are three categories of PR crises:

1. Minimal responsibility – casualty disasters

Casualty disasters include phenomena involving natural disasters like hurricanes, negative reviews, rumors, workplace mistreatment, and product pilfering. 

2. Low responsibility – mishaps

Mishap disasters include operation complaints, technical error accidents, and technical error product harm. 

3. Strong responsibility – preventable disasters

Preventable disasters include human-error accidents, human-error product harm, and organizational misconduct.

Crises resulting in injuries and loss of lives, like airline accidents, create threats to public safety, financials, and the image of the company in question. Thus, big companies require a dedicated PR team in place to help them respond to crisis situations. Together with the stakeholders of the business, they create a crisis management plan so they are ready for any disaster that may come. 

One way to help contain a brand disaster is by press release wire distribution. News wires are great vehicles that connect brands to the public. Chances are, you have read an official statement from an airline company before after hearing about a big disaster that happened to their brand. That is how news wire distribution works. News wires or media outlets help you send your message across different audiences and channels.

Writing a press release addressing a brand disaster can be intimidating, especially for first-timers. To help you get started on this particular task, here are some of the best practices you can do to guide you should the time comes that you need to address a brand disaster.

1. Check all facts related to the incident first

For cases of minimal responsibility disasters, like negative restaurant reviews, inspect the details of the review above all else before drafting a press release content. Ask people involved, like frequent customers and new ones about their thoughts on certain points raised in the review before jumping to conclusions or reacting defensively about the review. Ask staff members and other stakeholders of the brand too about their objective point of view on the matter.
In cases of low and strong responsibility disasters, accuracy is crucial when speaking to the public. They want the truth to help them make decisions in relation to the disaster that happened. There is, however, the risk of providing inaccurate details during a crisis. Rectify the mistake immediately but keep in mind that inaccuracies result in lower public trust as it makes a brand look inconsistent and incompetent. Thus, maintaining one voice or messaging in a crisis is ideal.

2. Develop your initial response immediately

Big companies dedicate a news monitoring team or a PR agency team to scan various media channels for brand-related information. Startups and medium enterprises may use search engine alerts to automatically receive brand-related online alerts. Doing these will help any business develop its initial response within the first hour instead of learning about it only after 24 hours. Hiring an outsourced team to help monitor news on social media, TV, online, and print may also help.
Big businesses provide a response within the first hour but that depends on different factors like media inquiries and the severity of the disaster.
In creating the initial response for an airline disaster, for example, it is recommended to express concern or sympathy for any victims of the crisis. For cases like negative reviews, never criticize your customer. Always be respectful in responding to their review and don’t leave negative reviews unanswered. Releasing a press release that focuses on how the brand helps solve the problem of its target market and how it continues to strive to solidify its services may help regain customers’ trust.

3. Hear out your customers

Customers are great sources of learning how you can improve your brand’s products and services. Always listen to them and view them as sources of growth.

4. Study PR brand disaster cases and learn from them

Responding properly to crises is difficult, especially for new business owners. One way to deal with it is to learn from other players who encountered similar incidents – see how they responded to it and know how they bounced back from the negative backlash.

5. Use trusted news wires for press release distribution

News wires will do the distribution work for you once you have your press release ready to be sent to media outlets nationwide. Reliable news wires get your content published on popular media channels for readers to see.
Press releases are a great way to contain brand disasters. If you need help drafting one for a crisis or simply just want to make an announcement or launch a new product, Brand Featured offers press release writing and distribution services you can count on. The company features a growing network of media companies trusted across the nation, helping you to get your message across the right channels and millions of audiences.
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