Can You Handle A Crisis?

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A crisis can happen to any business, of any size, at any time. Do you have procedures in place to avoid a crisis before it happens, and a plan for responding to it when it strikes? And if you do have a plan, is it effective?

This year, the world will celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 97th birthday. Whether he knew it or not, he had a lot to say about crisis communications. In honor of his life and achievements, we’ll use some of his wise quotes to highlight key elements of a solid and successful crisis management plan:

“The first thing is to be honest with yourself.”

You may not be able to account for every possibility, but you can identify the most likely problem areas and prepare for the moment when they cause a major issue for your company. Be aware of your liabilities, the things that could come back to haunt you, personally and professionally. Some of these might be uncomfortable truths, but think how much worse it would be if someone else found them first.

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

Part of being honest with yourself is acknowledging that you and your business are vulnerable. If you accept that you are not immune to damage, you can create a plan that will protect your brand from the worst repercussions.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

A strong response to a crisis can shine a positive light on you and your company even in dark times. Your handling of negative situations says a lot about your business. You can respond to a crisis in a way that makes the public question your integrity, or you can respond in a way that gives them reasons to respect you more.

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

Whatever you do, do not ignore the problem. The crisis will affect you whether you react to it or not. You will have more control over the outcome if you are proactive. Ask for support from a trusted advisor, someone not affected by the situation and who has had a positive experience handling crisis.

If you or your business is facing a crisis, don’t lose hope! You may feel discouraged, as though there is no way you and your business can ever bounce back. But a solid plan and a right execution will carry you all the way through from prevention, to response, to reclaiming your good reputation when the smoke clears.

As Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

GillespieHall is an integrated digital marketing and digital PR  firm. Our award-winning team is comprised of astute PR  communicators, sociologists, digital strategists, and  creative content designers. We are leaders in exceptional  results-based marketing, social media,  brand development and crisis  management.

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Be Part of LinkedIn’s “In” Crowd

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Although I hesitate to admit, I think up until last week, I had fallen outside of LinkedIn’s “in” crowd. About seven years ago, it appeared that if you had a presence on LinkedIn, you were connected, hip, current and “in.” But just as keeping up your status as cool in elementary school required some self-reflections every once in a while, such as assessing who were your current recess buddies, LinkedIn does as well.

Toward the end of this summer, LinkedIn launched its open publishing platform. Although I knew about this program to some extent, I didn’t realize how powerful or strategic this tool could be. In just two months, it has taken off, averaging 5,000 new posts a day.

As LinkedIn’s “influencer” program is limited to only 500 professionals at one time (usually reserved for well-known names such as Arianna Huffington or President Obama), the new publishing platform is more likely to be your starting point for posting content on your profile and building followers.

What does this mean for communications / PR professionals?

Free exposure for your client, of course.

A great opportunity is sitting in your hands to create LinkedIn content schedules for your company’s top executives (consider how many LinkedIn members, company employees and prospective buyers may be connected with your company’s lead) and to utilize every chance to encourage the rest of the company to post relevant content as well.

Let’s say you’re charged with creating hype for a tax company.This will only take two meetings to launch your chief’s regular content on LinkedIn.Meet with him or her in January to create six proposed topics (such as tax tips for single filers, homeowners or married filers; using TurboTax effectively; or properly requesting a filing extension). Spend time to thoroughly review each topic and take notes so that you can take the burden off your chief by writing the content for him or her. Now you are equipped with content to share on their LinkedIn profile for the first six months of the year.

Then meet again in the summer. Discuss six new topics and follow the same procedure.Although this same type of content may appear on your company’s website or blog, consider how many people intentionally visit those sites each day. Probably not nearly as many as those who check the posts and updates of their own LinkedIn networks every day.

Consider the benefits to creating a publishing schedule that adequately showcases your company’s services or products:

  • Your original content becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed on the posts section of your LinkedIn profile.
  • It is shared with your connections and followers.
  • Members not in your network can now follow you from your long-form post to receive updates when you publish next.
  • Your long-form post is searchable both on and off of LinkedIn.

If you’re ready to help your company or client utilize LinkedIn’s publishing feature, wait no longer! You may already be losing admiration with the “in” crowd.

Realize that staying part of LinkedIn’s “in” crowd is more than simply posting content on the publishing platform. It’s about being an expert on the professional site’s newest features so that you can educate others on their value.

More here on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, open to any member with a willingness to write and share.

PPRA Member Karen Toner is communications manager at Baker Tilly, a full-service accounting and advisory firm.