A professional peer posted an article from the Washington Post titled, “How crisis PR hasn’t kept up with the turbulent times” on Facebook. He was outraged by it. I’m not.
While, journalist, Matt DeBord, delivers the story with some level of snark, he makes a point that we as professionals cannot ignore. The profession of public relations is currently going through a transformation where the conversation is with the public instead of at the public. The one important area of expertise that has not fully embraced the change is issues/crisis management.
Within issues/crisis management, a fundamental mind shift is needed as to how crisis are planned for and how they are handled. Crisis communications was called the “evil” PR twin in the article. Perhaps we can say the “misunderstood” PR twin. In reality, you can’t have the “good” one without the other so let’s just say they are conjoined twins using the same organs to function. As how I see crisis communications, the goal is to effectively and quickly communicate information for the greater good of all during a crisis. That’s often forgotten. And that’s where crisis communications gets its bad name.
Social media has mostly caused this transformation by people taking control of content and driving the dialogue important to them. And for the most part, most in public relations are left behind because they are still having a monologue where no one is really listening.