A lot of things can go wrong in a business. Barbara Findlay Schenck wrote an article entitled Surviving a PR Nightmare discussing the top reasons why businesses go under. They are
1. A lapse in social responsibility stemming from policies that result in worker mistreatment, environmental damage or other harmful effects.
2. A breach of corporate standards or law, including accounting discrepancies, violation of regulations, and abuse of consumer, investor, stockholder and public trust.
3. Inappropriate personal behavior by a top executive, spokesperson or brand representative.
4. Sudden death or departure of a high-profile business leader
5.Product failures, malfunctions or dangers
6. Natural or manmade disasters or accidents, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, fires and terrorist attacks, to name a few.
All of these are major “no-no’s” in the business world and can do quite a bit of damage to a corporation if they occur. The larger the corporation, the more area it covers, and the more likely it is to have one of these PR crises. Schenck recommends determining the vulnerability of your company to a PR crisis before it happens, so you’re prepared once it does. If you can foresee an area that might have some trouble, you can do her second step and figure out what the worst possible outcome would be. For example, if you have a product coming out and you’re not 100% sure if it could cause an allergic reaction, you are aware that it might be re-called, and that your chemists may need to take a second look at the formula. Next, she suggests taking pre-emptive measures, by changing policies that need to be changed. (This would work in accounting discrepancies. Make it harder for someone to steal or be shady!).
Finally, move fast if something negative does happen. The previous steps will help you be ready for action. Learn all you can about the problem so you’re more informed than the public, and so you can address it honestly the first time. Be consistent, be clear, and take full responsibility.