Crisis Communication Management – The PR Superhero



If you haven’t clicked on the above given image, do it NOW! The above infographic, which unfortunately refuses to display full size, is the best thing you can ever come across if you are a PR person.

In a world where digital communication can be sent at the drop of a hat, this ten step process is the ideal toolkit to have in place for emergency situations. According to, “A real PR crisis is a negative story about your brand that has gained momentum, has reached a critical stage and threatens the reputation of your brand/business. (Cowlin, 2014) So basically when someone’s talking bulls**t about your brand and you need to fix it!

Below are the 10 steps for you to follow when a crisis needs saving from a PR superhero. –

Step 1 – Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

You need to relax to think straight. Maybe some breathing would help, don’t you think?

Step 2 – Circle the Wagons & Sound the Alarm

Inform the entire PR team including all officials such as customer service or social media members of what has happened and how you want to take charge of it. Also, let everyone know not to respond to any social updates till any concrete decisions are made.

Step 3 – Investigate What Happened

Find out EXACTLY what happened, not a story your neighbour made up. The four main things you need to be informed of are; what happened, what the public thinks happened, how the public reacted and what channels need immediate attention.

Step 4 – Understand the Business Impact

Figure out how your actions will affect your business or brand. You don’t want your emergency decision to cause more harm than good.

Step 5 – Listen Up

Keep track of the reactions of the media and public. The questions you need answered at this point are how big is the issue, how many people are talking about this incident, what is the overall sentiment, are people supporting your or against you, is the media reacting and if any stories have been published.

Step 6 – Decide on Corporate Position and Messaging

After gathering all your information using the first 5 steps, decide the stance your brand is going to take in the current situation.

Step 7 – Make Decisions on Channels of Distribution

Finalise the media channels you will use to let everyone know of your position and decide what communication your social media team should respond to and how. For example –

  • Social updates individually or as whole
  • Individual inquiries through email or phone
  • Sending out an email blast to your clients and subscribers
  • A corporate blog post
  • Through a press release

Step 8 – Get the WORD OUT

Act on the decisions you made in step 7.

Step 9 – Monitor Reaction and React as Needed

Analyse how the public is responding to your message and decide how you respond to them as well as if the situation is still a crisis.

Step 10 – Learn from the Process

The things you learn from a real-life situation, you can never learn at university or from a website. Make the most of your learnings to avoid the situation in the future.


I’m not even a PR student, but this info graphic made SO MUCH sense to me. Hope it helped you too!

Reference –

Cowlin, M. (2014). Infographic: 10 step crisis communication management. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from



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