PR New York Firms are Practicing Helps Dealing with the Financial Media in Times of Crisis

By: Kevin Waddel


A PR crisis can emerge any time. Lately, it seems that some kind of crisis or another crops up on a daily basis for some unfortunate company. Just ask anyone connected with New York’s Wall Street district. Understanding the roles of the media is helpful should your company find itself in the throes of a crisis (and, trust me, sooner or later, all companies face difficult PR situations). Most typically, the media serve as messengers, guardians and interpreters. As messengers, the media reports the facts of a story in an objective fashion. In the role of guardian, the media seeks to uncover wrongdoing and, finally, as interpreters, the media will analyze news events or trends and put them into context for their audiences. Over the recent past, all three of these roles have been very much on display.

When a crisis hits, the type of PR New York corporate managers typically employ is to hide in the hopes that it will pass before anyone notices. This is quite possibly the worst course of action to choose. By now, we all know how important it is to prepare for a crisis and, as part of those preparations, corporate managers should prepare for the glare of the media spotlight.

We offer some insights into how PR professionals work with the New York media during times of crisis:

• Be the First to Tell Your Story – Once a crisis hits, be sure you have all of the facts and a strategy in place to remedy the situation; these elements should be the basis of your PR release and “media talking points.” After issuing the release, your designated spokespeople, preferably your CEO and / or CFO, should reach out to the media – the wire services, the major newspapers as well as your local dailies. You want to be sure that reporters completely understand your story from your point-of-view as opposed to those of your competitors.

• Rehearse – Subject your spokespeople to a rigorous round of mock interviews. Hire a media trainer specializing in the type of PR New York financial companies need to pose questions and challenge the answers. Frame optimal answers and work on techniques such as “bridging” to deliver positive messages. Chances are that your spokesperson will never be asked the types of tough questions that will be posed during such sessions; however, he or she will be thoroughly prepared.

• “No Comment” is Not an Option – Those days are gone forever. It is perfectly acceptable to not comment on market rumors or speculation. Also, should you be asked a question that you don’t have answer for it is acceptable to call the media back with the answer. However, keep your promises.

• Crisis as Opportunity – Should the crisis be deemed to be short-term in nature and management has presented a credible plan to rectify the situation, use media opportunities to deliver positive investment messages about the long-term prospects for your company. Chances are that media coverage will be fair and balanced.

We at Makovsky + Company, a New York-based PR firm, regularly scrutinize our clients’ crisis plans as well as prepare plans for those who may not have one in place. Clients often involve us in the development of various crisis scenarios and the preparation of media responses for each. We prepare (and frequently update) crisis manuals for our clients.

The above points are meant as a primer on how PR pros must work with the media during times of crisis – whether in New York, Washington or anywhere else. While each situation is different, having a corporate policy that advocates maintaining an open door policy with the media as well as other important constituencies will accelerate the recovery of your corporate reputation.

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Kevin Waddel is a free lance writer. To get more information about Public relations, PR New York, public relations firm New York, investor relations New York, PR, PR firm New York, financial services public relations visit www.makovsky.com

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