Fast-food employees are demanding higher wages, and are going on strike to prove their point. The strike includes organizations like Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15, and are backed by Service Employees International Union. The strike is planned to take place in over 100 cities, and public relations practitioners are trying to keep the situation under control.
PRNewsOnline discusses several helpful hints to keep in mind when dealing with a PR crisis, with my own interpretation (http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2013/12/02/communication-strategies-in-response-to-wage-strikes/).
- Train telephone gatekeepers to keep accurate phone records. This is true of any company at any time, not just during a PR crisis. This ensures that untrue or discriminating information is not leaked and a situation can be contained. It also ensures that when a statement is made, it can be as accurate as possible.
- Assign one spokesperson to communicate with journalists. This is a must. If there is one person speaking on behalf of the company, there is only one message being given out and the message cannot get mixed up.
- Never say “no comment.” Even without the studies to support it, I think it is always better to have an ambiguous minimal statement than to have no statement at all. It often implies that you are unprepared, or don’t know how to defend yourself.
- Send written statements in response to reporters’ queries. A PR practitioner can release a concise statement that has all of the facts and provides a certain image for the company, that cannot be skewed by a reporter in an in-person or phone interview. It also saves PR practitioners from being surprised with questions they’re not prepared for, although every practitioner should be.
- Issue new releases selectively and strategically. All releases must be done this way, not just in a crisis. A strategic practitioner allows releases to paint the best picture of a company or organization as well as get out the information needed.
Something that I think any practitioner should keep in mind is thinking on ones feet. In press conferences, a practitioner can’t always be prepared for the questions asked. It’s important to imagine questions that may be asked and prepare answers, and to be prepared to come up with an answer on the spot.
What else do you think is helpful to know as a PR practitioner? Leave a comment below!