Transparency Is Key When Handling A PR Crisis

The following article is a guest post by Josaline Cuesta.

At a time when government is disappointing its constituents and big corporations are losing trust, you may wonder how businesses can overcome the negative views of the public. How does one prove to the public that they are a trustworthy company, or have a dependable product worth buying? Transparency may be one answer.

Social Media Tools

Transparency is often improved when companies become active in Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. These tools can be effective in building trust, loyalty and forming lasting relationships with consumers. For example, a company can provide its consumers with up to date information on its products and address negative press as soon as it happens. Responding to a crisis through social media tools can also help companies respond to rumors that may be damaging to a company reputation.

Toyota is a recent example of a corporation taking advantage of Twitter to manage a crisis and provide transparency. During the recent recall of Toyota vehicles, Toyota took to Twitter to provide up to date information on their progress of the situation and to answer consumer questions. The company also helped their cause by having their CEO answer questions from consumers on Digg. This exchange helped reduce the damage the company’s reputation was receiving from negative press.

Johnson and Johnson

Another example of transparency during a crisis was Johnson & Johnson, after eight people in the US died from taking Tylenol in the eighties. Tylenol’s crisis management strategy was one of full transparency through the entire process. They took the product off the shelves immediately and the head of the company held press conferences and interviews to keep the public informed. Through the whole ordeal news crews were allowed into the factories, which demonstrated that Tylenol had nothing to hide. Instead of hiding or retreating into the shadows, they took full responsibility and were able to restore public confidence.

3 Tips From Harvard Business Review

When faced with a crisis there are three tips to follow according to Harvard Business Review:

Figure out what happened. Do not leap into action without evaluating the situation.

Act quickly. Act with deliberateness and speed.

Adapt. Be prepared to alter the course if necessary.

Josaline Cuesta is a writer for Resource Nation, a service that provides advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs.