JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Like the Latin proverb si vis pacem, para bellum, which means whoever wants peace, prepare for war. This condition also applies to public relations (PR). What kind of preparation of war? “Preparation to face a crisis,” said Firsan Nova, Managing Director of Nexus Risk Mitigation and Strategic Communication, while speaking at the #5 PR INDONESIA Jamboree (JAMPIRO) in Bali on Wednesday (10/30/2019).
The first step is to identify the elements of crisis. The element starts with shock, denial, anger, bargain/hope, depression, and acceptance. Then, identify the situations that have the potential to become a crisis, such as health issue, safety and security, financial, environment, disaster, business practices and ethics, law, employee error, customer complaints, availability of goods to advertisements produced by the company that is found to contain misleading content. After that, identify the stakeholder that has the potential to be the source of a crisis both from the internal and external circle.
According to Firsan, there are two efforts that must be carried out by PR in relation to crisis, namely curative and preventive effort. A preventive effort, for example, fostering public trust towards the company, maintaining good relations with the government officials, building a fortress from the bottom line of the marketing chain, and preparing crisis management program. Meanwhile, the curative effort includes identifying, isolating, and handling crises.
Crisis influences three things, namely image, reputation, and financial stability. PR task is to isolate crisis both from the impact and the issue so that it doesn’t worsen. “During a crisis, we don’t see the scale, but we see the impact instead,” said the man who was speaking about PR crisis and issue management. How big is the impact of the crisis on the company? “The more serious the potential, the bigger the crisis that we will be faced,” Firsan added.
What must PR do? First, do in-depth data and factual observation. “Create opinion leader map analysis, conduct media analysis, handle the issue in accordance with the business characteristics,” he said. Then, prepare information package, issue limitation, and its impact, position the company image, crisis center team, and appoint an unofficial spokesperson.
Firsan said that the tips are honest, repeat the message as often as possible, know and choose the right communication channel according to the targeted audience, think for a long term plan, be open to receive feedback, both in a form of suggestions and critics. Therefore, emotional intelligence is one of the competencies that PR must-have. In addition, communication skill, confidence, empathy, willingness to listen, open-mindedness, and etc. “The skill to respond to everything calmly is important. We don’t need to be angry when we’re being insulted, and don’t hover when we are praised,” he said.
Firsan also shared effective crisis communication guidelines. It consists of identifying the speed of a crisis, responding quickly, supporting with data, forming a crisis team, ensuring PR gets direct access and trust from the CEO. “The last one is important because it will greatly impact the decision making during a crisis,” concluded Firsan. (rtn)