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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Announcing bad news – 4 big mistakes companies make

By Liz Coyle-Camp, managing director, E=MC2 Public Relations
What are the most common PR mistakes organisations make when they have to deal with bad news?

 1. They delay in announcing the bad news or try to bury it by issuing a press release late on a Friday night hoping the media have gone home for the weekend. Never delay, the longer you do, the bigger and uglier you’ll become in the news when the story does break.
2. They don’t own up to their mistakes and show genuine sympathy and compassion for those affected because they’re too worried about the legal implications of saying ‘I’m sorry’. Apologising is not necessarily an admission of guilt but an expression of empathy and concern.
When bad news breaks, showing you care can go a long way in building good brand relations with the public and your customers.
3. They blame it on the lawyers because they’ve been advised to say ‘no comment’. ‘No comment speaks volumes which is why legal eagles are not media relations experts. Their job is to keep people out of prison, not out of the press. There is no such thing as no comment so don’t go there!
4. They don’t take immediate action and address the problem or situation. People want to know that you are doing everything in your power to fix the problem or at least alleviate it on day one not day five. Keep them informed about what you are doing throughout the PR crisis.