5 Crisis Communication Tips Every Startup Needs

Company life is marching along just fine. Sales are fantastic. Public opinion is great. Service and products are going off without a hint of any hitch.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, an unexpected event happens publicly knocks you off your game and without warning your company is now in a bit of a jam.

Or a pickle, as they say.

The best way to handle a pickle is to prevent said pickle from happening in the first place. However, because a controversial-free business is not entirely realistic, here are five necessary steps to take when you’re wrestling with solutions for a public-facing crisis.

Issue a Holding Statement  

A rushed response is usually the result of getting dragged on social media paired with the lack of a ready-to-go crisis communications plan. Think Kevin McAllister’s battle plan in Home Alone. You want one of those for crisis comms already on deck.

Even though there is immense pressure to respond during a crisis, rushing a response is almost always a terrible idea. Yes, you want to respond with urgency. However, an urgent, timely response is not the same as a frantic, knee-jerk reaction. In times of crisis, it’s critical that you know the difference, unless being made an example of on TikTok sounds fun to you.

The solution: A holding statement. A holding statement is a blanket, boilerplate PR statement that buys you time to think and craft a thoughtful, authentic response to whatever crisis you’re publicly facing. Holding statements exist to prevent emotional situations from getting even more out of control than they already are.

A holding statement acknowledges that you are aware of the situation, and make sure to spell the situation out specifically. It also lets the public know that you’re collecting more information and will provide an update via a longer and more thoughtful statement once you have all the facts.

Consider a holding statement the tourniquet of your crisis communications first-aid kit. If you don’t already have a couple of these on hand, make sure that your mission is to develop several holding statements before the close of the quarter.

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