As well as running my own wedding DJ business, I also work in corporate communications within the press office for Highways England.
As a government company we are geared up for dealing with a crisis and I’ve dealt with many over the years. However, as a solo operator of a business it is much harder to deal with a reputational crisis. After all, it’s just you to be the master of everything and make all the decisions.
Within the public relations world, the golden rule in a crisis is to stop all communications and review the situation. There are many examples of where companies have not done so and it has backfired.
One example is when Tesco’s social media team closed for the night with a quirky comment about 'hitting the hay' for the night. Slightly amusing in normal times but when the company was facing criticism during the horse meat scandal, it generated a lot of negative attention. The scheduled tweets hadn't been cancelled or reviewed, and allowing them to continue caused embarrassment for the company. Sure, it didn't result in the supermarket giant closing but they paid the price for that simple mistake with a large volume of negative media coverage that could have been so easily avoided.
The Tesco scenario is an example of a crisis created by the business itself, one that could have easily been prevented. However, sometimes a crisis can form outside of your control and is something you need to respond to. For DJs, if you fail to turn up to an event, this would likely be a crisis that you have created. However, an event where there is a powercut preventing the celebration going ahead is likely to be a crisis that you have to respond to.
I've dealt with many a crisis during my time working in the Highways England press office. I've stayed up all night as a snow storm swept across Kent and Sussex in 2013. I've dealt with the footbridge being knocked down on the M20 and the tragedy of the Shoreham air disaster closing the A27 for an extended period. These are all examples of crisis situations that we had to respond to.
Crisis communications is considered its own specialism within the communications world. And quite rightly so, as the reputation that you've spent years building can be wiped out virtually overnight. One Tweet from Donald Trump reportedly wiped off $1bn from the share value of Boeing.
Some golden rules if you ever face a crisis:
Pro Mobile equipment reviews are sponsored by insure4music, insure your gear today and save 10% off your quote - from just £22.50 a year.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 106, Pages 46-47.