Sign up for our newsletter!

Developing A Crisis Communications Strategy

Many companies focus on growth, not risk mitigation. This can be especially true for startups. But the truth is that crisis management is a critical component of any public relations strategy. When a crisis happens and you’re caught unprepared, you’ll become reactive, look defensive, and make mistakes that could have been easily prevented.

A well-crafted crisis communications plan will help you:

✔️ Prepare for the worst
✔️ Be responsive and even proactive when a crisis hits
✔️ Keep your reputation intact

This is why every company, whether an early-stage startup or an established public corporation, needs a crisis communications plan. As the saying goes, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Here’s what you should consider when creating your crisis comms strategy:

  • ✔️ Is this a one-day story? Some crises can run their course. Others will only get worse the longer you wait to address them.
  • ✔️ Once the news story appears, the judgment has been made. Speed of response is critical to control the narrative.
  • ✔️ Delay tactics can look like guilt. Speed is important, but not at the expense of being wrong. This is where your holding statement comes in.
  • ✔️ You need a human response, not a legal one. Communication delivered calmly, but authentically in your voice, can help any audience pull together and weather difficult times.
  • ✔️ Your employees are potential sources. If you don’t talk to the press, your employees will begin getting phone calls, texts and social media messages.
  • ✔️ Social media is a battlefield. Citizen journalists can become movement leaders overnight, and social media is where like-minded advocates gather. You must engage there too.
  • ✔️ Is your spokesperson prepared? Practice works out the kinks and clarifies the message.

Interested in learning more? Here are some of Inkhouse’s best tips on crisis communications…


ap style mistakes


Without A Plan, PR Can Only Make Your Crisis Less Bad


Reputation is not something you can begin building the day a crisis hits. There are no magic tricks in a crisis — no PR tactic, no well-placed media phone call, no legal maneuver that can make it all go away. Once a crisis has caught you unprepared, PR can help, but in those cases, we’re only going to be able to make situations slightly less bad. However, a good reputation that’s been intentionally built over time can help an organization weather the toughest crisis.


PR Amid Unrest: Should You Engage?


Following the 2021 Capitol Insurrection, external communications were complicated. Organizations wondered how to handle it if employees were involved. They considered whether they should put out statements regarding their position. And they wondered if they should postpone proactive PR campaigns. In any crisis, before you issue a press statement, comment on an employee’s involvement, or post reactions on social media, consider the following.

Burger King UK And Teen Vogue Crises

Two crises made headlines in early 2021. Burger King UK, as part of International Women’s Day, tweeted, “Women belong in the kitchen.” The post was meant to highlight the fact that only 20% of chefs are female and Burger King UK was awarding culinary scholarships to women. Except the point got buried as Twitter erupted in outrage. Around the same time, Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief made Washington Post headlines for past racist tweets. Both the Burger King UK and the Teen Vogue crises were avoidable.

Nine Considerations For COVID-19 Crisis Planning

The best way to manage a crisis is to plan in advance when you have the wisdom and clarity of perspective. Before you dive into the tactics, pull out your company values and read them again. Your crisis plan should reflect these — values become meaningless when an organization only lives them when times are good. Then consider your culture. If your values inform what you do, your culture informs how you do it. It’s even more critical at a time when everyone is virtual.

What To Do If Your Brand Is Boycotted

In 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would no longer sell assault-style rifles in response to the Parkland school massacre. In the wake of the shooting, the company joins dozens of brands that cut ties with the National Rifle Association. There were also boycotts brewing against Amazon, Roku, Apple TV and FedEx over their relationships with the group. But this was just one example of how businesses today find themselves in the crosshairs of cultural movements and social issues. Businesses are now compelled to become a part of our national discourse on political issues whether they want to be or not. In such an environment, there are a few communications strategies to consider.