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Managing and Crisis

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Managing a Crisis Using PR

February 22, 2013

Managing a Crisis Using PR

As a United States Marine there are many principles we are taught that helped us to be prepared for future crisis including saving lives. One of those principles was the five Ps, Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The objective of this principle is to be prepared for unexpected future emergencies in our lives. Managing a crisis in public relations is similar in some ways to our Marine principle. Crisis management in public relations has a tool called proactive planning.

Proactive Planning

Proactive planning is preparing and planning for crisis or emergencies before they happen. In this proactive planning process it is important for a company to anticipate crisis responses in order to be as prepared as possible. Anticipating these responses will put an organization in a better position when a crisis arises (and it will) than to not have preplanned. It is better to be proactive than reactive. The text calls it "...precrisis planning" (Seitel, 2007).

Our text uses another term called "issues management" which was coined by a public relations counselor by the name of Mr. W. Howard Chase. He defined it in this way:

Issues management is the capacity to understand, mobilize, coordinate, and direct all strategic and policy planning functions, and all public affairs/public relations skills, toward achievement of one objective: meaningful participation in creation of public policy that affects personal and institutional destiny (Seitel, 2007).

According to Seitel (2007), one of the elements of issues management is to anticipate emergency issues. He writes:

Anticipate emerging issues. Normally, the issues management process anticipates issues one to three years away. Therefore, it is neither crisis planning nor postcrisis planning but rather precrisis planning. In other words, issues management deals with an issue that will hit the organization a year later, thus distinguishing the practice from the normal crisis planning aspects of public

Relations (Seitel, 2007).

This element focuses on planning for an anticipated crisis well in advance not waiting for it to happen and then react.

Feedback Mechanism

One of the best feedback mechanisms available to organizations is a survey. Surveys are a vital tool for organizations to utilize in order to find out the opinions of publics. Seitel (2007) states, "But the inclusion of a mechanism for evaluation is imperative in terms of verifying results based on shifts in public opinion or actions taken to benefit an organization



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