As PR practitioners, we are always reminding our clients about the need for a crisis communications plan. No matter the industry – healthcare, technology, restaurant or education – you can never predict when a crisis will hit, or what the crisis will be. On June 4, in a move to ensure the health and safety of its customers, GroundFloor Media client Qdoba Mexican Grill pulled raw tomatoes from its menu in response to a reported salmonella outbreak among certain varieties of tomatoes.
Kudos to Qdoba for jumping on this issue before it became a media headliner! Together with the client, GroundFloor Media had time to help craft messaging and developed signage surrounding the preventative measure – and sure enough, the phones started ringing. Thanks to a fantastic partnership with our client and a willingness to drop everything and walk in lock-step, not only have we navigated a sea of nationwide media inquiries, the combined GroundFloor Media/Qdoba team actually maintained a sense of humor and, dare I say, is comfortably prepared to tackle the next crisis that comes our way.
If you’re contemplating adding a crisis communications plan to your “PR toolbox”, keep in mind these basic principles:
- Develop your key message(s) and stick to them
- Respond to the media as quickly as possible, but take time to gather the facts before answering
- Follow through on commitments to answer additional questions the media may have
- Utilize your corporate Web site to disseminate information to key audiences