Inside Out: Your PR Partners Know What to Do in Times of Crisis


By Tanya Carlsson

To most people, PR means handling external comms or creating the next media darling. What often gets overlooked is what happens on the inside, and a PR team’s ability to make an impact on the business from the inside out. 

During trying times, a company’s natural reaction is to turn to their most trusted internal advisors – most often because they are afraid of others seeing the not-so-glamorous parts of the business, or catching wind of an unfavorable situation. What companies may not know is that their PR team has likely handled similar situations ten times over. 

During moments of challenge, confusion, or crisis, PR or comms teams should be looped in from day one for guidance and support relating to internal issues, regardless of how sensitive the issues are.

Even if a company isn’t directly impacted by said challenge or crisis, PR can play a crucial role in effectively communicating key messages to important stakeholders. Take the recent collapse of SVB as an example. Numerous unimpacted companies gave a sigh of relief and then moved on, business as usual. What’s important to point out is that most employees, customers, and partners are left wondering what it means for them. This line of communication often gets overlooked, causing confusion, concern, and sometimes panic. Communication is critical, and regardless of where a company stands in the midst of a challenge or crisis, it warrants an internal and external comms plan – which is where the value of PR really shines. 

Companies should lean on their PR team to coach them on if, when, and how communications should be handled. This is essential for managing the situation effectively, minimizing damage, and maintaining reputation – here’s why.

Expertise: PR professionals have experience in managing crises and handling communications during difficult times. They have the skills and knowledge to help organizations navigate a variety of situations and communicate effectively with stakeholders. 

Objectivity: During a crisis, emotions can run high, and it can be challenging to make rational decisions. PR professionals can provide an objective perspective and help companies make informed decisions based on facts and data that consider all parties involved.

Reputation Management: PR helps organizations mitigate the damage caused by the crisis. They can work to minimize negative publicity, maintain reputation, and prevent further harm to the brand. How a company chooses to handle a situation can make or break its reputation, and a PR professional can ensure that communications are accurate, transparent, and aligned with the company’s values.

Speed: During a time of crisis or challenge, time is of the essence. People often get restless, impatient, or reactive – PR helps organizations address the issue at hand in a timely manner, minimizing risk and putting people at ease.

Consistency: PR professionals can help ensure that communications are consistent across all channels and departments. This consistency can help build trust and prevent misunderstandings.

Leaning on PR for help with external AND internal communications during tough times can improve communication efficacy, consistency, reputation management, and help an organization achieve its goals. Companies can save a great deal of time and additional stress by leaning on PR pros to guide them through obstacles.