Ernst & Young is the most recent brand to have their name attached to the swine flu and we should certainly expect to see more companies to follow. What companies need to do RIGHT now is to put a fear factor PR plan in action.
Today the swine flu, tomorrow who knows what will drive fear. One thing for certain fear factor can hurt a brand’s bottom line. In a fear factor situation have you thought out how you will communicate with clients, employees, etc? Does your PR firm even have a fear factor plan in action for your brand?
How-to Launch a Fear Factor PR Plan to Protect Your Brand:
Emergency Communications – It is imperative to establish varies means of communications in an emergency situation. During an emergency you should not be trying to figure out how you will get your message out, you should already have a plan in place.
Make sure that emergency communications instructions are on your website; supply written instructions, training, etc. Let clients, employees, alliances, etc know HOW to communicate with you during an emergency.
Quality Assurance – Make sure that you communicate how your brand is dealing with certain fear factors. This will be a concern for employees as well as clients. Offer advice on what preventative measurements and tips you are enforcing.
Example, for the swine flu one of the strongest preventative measurements is washing hands. Let everyone know that your brand is enforcing an excessive hand washing policy. For hospitals, restaurants, spas, and retail outlets it may be a good idea to let the public know that you are implementing strict mandatory hand washing breaks.
Support Resources – Make sure that you communicate what resources will be offered in a disaster or outbreak situation. Supply information for what agencies to contact in a disaster or outbreak situation.
Will you allow employees to work from home or report to work? How will you handle payments to vendors, employees etc?
Following these simple steps can assist your brand with surviving a fear factor outbreak. Brands that offer comfort of how to deal with disasters help to ease the fear factor, building trust with target audiences by keeping the lines of communications open.