Before the first sound bite airs, we brace ourselves for the next bad news out of the oil patch. Is it an oil spill, a drilling rig fire, a multi-vehicle accident, an oilfield worker accused of a crime?
In reality, many good things have come out of oil development in North Dakota’s Bakken Field. And, while some businesses are here to make a fast buck, other civic-minded energy companies – large and small, well established and start-ups – have made considerable philanthropic commitments to the communities where they do business.
Proactive Public Relations
Seldom, though, does the good news make headlines, and it takes so little to sully the image of a reputable company. That’s where public relations crisis planning comes in. No organization can control negative media coverage, whether it’s based on reality or rumor, but every company can control how it reacts to unfavorable media attention by having a well-thought-out crisis response plan in place.
Crises can occur at any time, and organizations that prepare for multiple contingencies are far more likely to fare well under pressure. By developing comprehensive crisis communication plans, leadership teams know who’s responsible for what, and they’re ready to roll into action should an emergency occur.
KK BOLD clients who have worked through the crises planning process with us ultimately reach the same conclusion: They hope disaster never strikes, but, if it does, they are more confident in their ability to respond appropriately, using a plan tailor-made for their specific needs.
If Disaster Strikes
Some of the advice we give clients is just plain common sense, like always tell the truth because the public is more likely to forgive and forget when you own up to your mistakes. We underscore the importance of designating a crisis management team far in advance of anything going wrong, knowing that the public will pass judgment based on the company’s response within the first few minutes and hours after a disaster.
Some of what we tell clients is more strategic and nuanced for very specific situations. Of course, we don’t share our public relations expertise in a blog, but we would be happy to discuss it with you. If we’ve convinced you of the need for crisis communication planning for your organization, give us a call. KK BOLD will help you anticipate the unexpected. More importantly, we’ll help you prepare for it.
Debra A Anderson is KK BOLD’s director of public relations has 25 years of experience in public relations and worked in both the private and public sectors in North Dakota and Oklahoma.
*photo courtesy of North Dakota Petroleum Council