Issues & Crisis Management
In PR, issues and crisis management are two very different tasks. The easiest way to separate the two is by defining ‘PR issues management’ as a proactive process, while ‘PR crisis management’ is a reactive process.
As PR issues management is a proactive process, organisations work to predict changes in the environment and plan appropriate responses; it can be part of the ordinary working schedule. This process can take time as there is no real sense of urgency. An organisation can weigh up their options to solve issues, and potentially turn them into opportunities. With regards to impact, an issue may incur a financial cost to a company or damage reputation, however damage is likely to be internal and not affect the wider environment.
PR crisis management is a much more serious in terms of immediacy. A company must respond quickly and hence has little time to make decisions. The impact of a crisis can be far worse and more widespread than an issue, so PR crisis management is likely to take over from normal day-to-day activities until a solution is found. It is also likely to be more costly as there is less time to ‘shop-around’.
One particular type of PR crisis management is ‘media crisis management’. This type of crisis is where the media has potentially damaging material or information in relation to your company. Under these circumstances, media crisis management looks at how best to respond to the situation and minimise its impact. One method of managing such as crisis is to respond to the media, ensuring that your side of the story is also heard. Social media crisis management is becoming increasingly part of PR with the growth of various platforms.